Horses and DC-3's sometimes don't mix.

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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006

Horses and DC-3's sometimes don't mix.

Unread post by ACAV8R »

OK my turn.

POS north cargo ramp, March 28th, 1972. I was co-pilot on a DC-3, registration 8P-AAA. Captain was a Canadian guy called Gary Dalton. We were supposed to take some racehorses to BGI but only one showed up and we had to get the a/c back to BGI to do some rotations the next day.

Horse and groom show up with the gov't vet who was supposed to tranquilize the horse. Animal was major-league schizy and skittish, jumping all 'bout de place. Even the vet didn't want to go near that horse. As I recall the vet was a bit of a poofster and maybe he was afraid that his make-up would get smeared [yes, he actually had on some face make-up, much to the amusement of all de boys on de ramp. Man, dem rampies were paradin' over dis auntie-man vet, very politically-incorrect].

Anyway, he gives the poor horse a needle and we wait. Horse still prancing around and rearing up. Poor groom beside himself. I tell de skipper that I don't like dis beast, it is a devil-horse, gonna cause trouble. Gary agrees. The vet says that he'll jukk it again with some more sedative. He does this and about 45 minutes later it seems that devil-horse has calmed down. Poor t'ing was totally terrified at the prospect of going in an airplane.

They have all kinds of trouble getting the horse up the ramp into the airplane. Horse say he 'en flyin' today. They finally get him into the stall and secure it. Groom 'fraid out of his wits [Trini Indian fella, nice chap], keep askin' the skipper if everyt'ing gonna be OK. Gary white as a sheet. Me? My bowels feelin' kinda loose.

Anyway, we get clearance, start up and taxi out. Horse seeming to be OK. Groom terrified. Cleared to position, skipper is pilot flying. Pushes the throttles up and de Pratts start to roar.

Horse gone beserk. Rearing up, kicking, everyt'ing. Groom screaming. By this time we are at 40 KIAS and de tail is up. Horse let go one almighty kick, break down the rear gate of the stall and backin' out. I yell at Gary to "Abort, Abort." Horse sliding on the aluminium floor. Groom see what happening and wraps the halter rope around the forward post of the stall [strong stall, made of green-heart]. Horse slides back on the floor, hits the cargo door, breaks it open, and falls out of airplane on to the runway. Rope tightens and as soon as all the slack is taken up, breaks the horse's neck. The poor groom would have been better to let it go completely. By tying the rope around the stall post, he has acted as a hangman and executed the horse.

Gary brings the DC-3 to a stop on the runway, I jump out of my seat and rush back to the cargo door and look out. Poor horse lying on the runway, groom crying uncontrollably. I go back up to the flight deck, we clear the runway and taxi back to the cargo ramp. Vet goes out and makes sure that the horse is dead, and they remove the carcass from the runway. We make a statement to the airport authorities and the CAA, but no more flying that day so Gary and I go to the Pan Am guest house and try to forget the days events.

Next day, we get clearance from the Trinidad authorities, load up a load of cargo and fly back to BGI. By the time I get home, my wife tells me that it was reported that a horse kicked its way out of a Carib West DC-3 over Tobago at 8,000' I give her the facts of the matter. Never heard another thing about the incident. Flew many racehorses with CWA after that, never a problem. But that one horse? De devil got into him that day. Poor animal. Never heard what happened to the groom. Never heard the legal outcome. Never even knew who owned the horse.

True account ladies and gentlemen.

OTP, but not OTH
Posts: 954
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006

Unread post by michaelawai »

wow i heard that story before..

guess this proves truth.. poor horsey.. :shock:
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