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Cheetah Gets Loose On Delta Flight

Baggage Handler Finds A Surprise In Cargo Hold

A Delta Air Lines baggage handler received an unwelcome surprise Thursday when she opened an airliner's cargo door and discovered a cheetah had escaped its cage and was loose in the cargo hold.

The shipping of two cheetahs from Portland, OR to Atlanta GA in cages loaded into the cargo bay of a passenger plane was uneventful until one of the big cats apparently got out of its cage during the flight, Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton said on Friday.

Summoned from an Atlanta zoo, animal handlers tranquilized both animals in a closed hangar and then took them back to the zoo, according to Associated Press reports.

Delta is now attempting to return the felines to their owners, Talton said, but was unable to release the big cats' owners' names due to company privacy regulations.

The condition of the startled baggage handler is not known, but the AP reports good news for passengers of the flight: The cheetah did not damage any of their luggage.



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