International Herald Tribune
Squirrel discovery diverts Tokyo-Dallas flight to Hawaii
The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
An American Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing after pilots heard something skittering about in the wire-laden space over the cockpit.
The airline blamed the emergency landing of the Tokyo-Dallas flight with 202 passengers on a stowaway squirrel.
“You do not want a varmint up in the wiring areas and what-have-you on an airplane. You don’t want anything up there,” said John Hotard, spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline.
He said pilots feared the animal would chew through wiring or cause other problems.
“So, as a precaution, we diverted,” Hotard said.
Once on the ground late Friday, the Boeing 777’s human passengers were put up in hotel rooms and later rebooked on other flights.
State and federal agriculture and wildlife officials boarded the plane, set traps and captured the eastern gray squirrel.
Hotard said the plane had flown to Tokyo from New York before the Dallas flight.
Honolulu, however, proved to be the squirrel’s final destination. Fearing it may have been carrying rabies, authorities had the rodent killed.