Pilot Flies Animals Away From Canada Fire, Despite Rules

An uplifting story out of the Fort McMurray devastation
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2016 9:34 PM CDT
Pilot Flies Animals Away From Canada Fire, Despite Rules
Smoke fills the air as a small plane flies overhead in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tuesday, May 3, 2016.   (Kitty Cochrane/The Canadian Press via AP)

Out of the wildfire devastating Canada's Fort McMurray, a heartwarming story: Keith Mann, a pilot with Suncor Energy, bent the rules in order to help out some of the town's animal residents. Mann has used his plane to help about 6,000 people get from camps north of Fort McMurray down to larger cities in the south. But on one recent flight, he evacuated not just people but more than 40 animals—even though Suncor typically only allows a few animals per trip and requires them to be in a kennel. "Cats, dogs, rabbits, and chinchillas ... you name it," Mann tells Metro News. He says the flight was relatively peaceful—"I think [the animals] all got along pretty well. ... You could just tell everyone was so happy to be out of camp and on their way."

Another airline, Canadian North, has also bent its rules to help evacuate animals on its flights, the Huffington Post reports. Mashable has a roundup of photos that have been tweeted showing the animals enjoying their flights on both airlines. Some Fort McMurray pet owners have been separated from their animals after they evacuated and weren't allowed to return to their homes for safety reasons, but the CBC reports that the SPCA and the Humane Society have been rescuing hundreds of animals from the city. They will be taken care of in a holding facility; some have already been reunited with their owners. (More Canada stories.)

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