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Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cheetahs on a plane: 1 gets loose in cargo hold

November 1, 2008

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— A Delta baggage worker got a bit of a fright before Halloween when she opened a jetliner's cargo door and found a cheetah running loose amid the luggage.

Two cheetahs were being flown in the cargo area of a Boeing 757 passenger flight from Portland, Ore., to Atlanta on Thursday when one escaped from its cage, Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said Friday.

Some luggage was delayed, but the airline promised to send the bags to passengers' homes.

The good news for passengers: The escaped cheetah didn't damage any of their luggage.

The airline summoned help from Zoo Atlanta, and experts rushed to a closed airport hangar and tranquilized the escaped animal and took both big cats to the zoo.

Both 1-year-old female cheetahs were on their way from the Wildlife Safari Park in Winston, Ore., to the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee, Memphis Zoo spokesman Drew Smith said in an e-mail. He said the two cheetahs will stay a few days at the zoo in Atlanta until the Memphis Zoo gets a team together to fetch them.

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