Monday, December 06, 2010

USAir passenger jets at Charlotte/Douglas Inte...US Airways flight diverts after dog bites 2 on board

By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY

Is it time for airlines to add a "beware of dog" warning to their pre-flight safety instructions?
That idea may be on the minds of 122 US Airways customers this morning after a dog got loose on their flight and bit a passenger and a flight attendant.
Though the injuries were minor, the incident prompted the pilot to divert the Newark-to-Phoenix flight to Pittsburgh for an emergency landing, The Associated Press reports.

"The captain felt in the interest of safety, it was better to land and have them looked at than continue on," US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The culprit: a 12-pound Manchester terrier named Mandy, who got loose after her owner took her out of the cage, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Apparently, the dog's "sedatives began wearing off" and it became agitated, the Tribune-Review says, citing Allegheny County police Inspector David Walsh.

A man sitting next to the dog's owner tried to calm the dog.

That's when the trouble started, according to the Tribune-Review. The paper writes the dog bit the man, got loose "and then ran up and down the aisle of the plane barking. A flight attendant who grabbed the dog also was bitten."

The Post-Gazette says the bite victims were treated by airport medical personnel. They then got back on the plane in Pittsburgh and continued on to Phoenix, according to Tribune-Review.

However, separate transportation was arranged for the dog's owner -- identified only as an 89-year-old New Jersey woman en route to Palm Springs, Calif.

US Airways officials note the carrier does allow small dogs to be brought on board -- for a $100-each-way fee -- if they fit in a carrier small enough to go under the seat in front of the passenger. But US Airways adds that its rules require passengers to keep the pets caged in flight.

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