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Possum on a plane: Flight delayed in China after pet breaks loose on board

By CNN Staff, CNN

(CNN) — Sometimes it’s the smallest things that ruin your day. For the passengers of a flight between the eastern Chinese cities of Shanghai and Jinan, it was a miniature pet possum.

The tiny sugar glider – a nocturnal animal resembling a flying squirrel –  broke loose on a China Eastern Airlines flight on Monday, scurrying away from its owner, hiding in the cabin and eventually forcing passengers to temporarily disembark the plane.

“On a flight from Shanghai to Jinan on June 10, 2024, a passenger surnamed Guo (female, 34 years old) violated the regulations and took a pet sugar glider on board the plane,” Shanghai Police International Airport Branch said in a statement on its Weibo social media account.

“The pet escaped in the cabin and was captured by others.”

Chinese local media said the incident took place on flight MU5599 from Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport. Videos posted on social media appear to show a flight attendant kneeling on the ground and looking for the furry fugitive.

It was reported that all the passengers were eventually made to disembark the plane and wait in the terminal building until the creature was captured. Social videos reposted by local media show passengers gathered in front of a counter at the airport negotiating with airline staff.

In one video, a female passenger suggests: “(Let’s) call the police.” A male passenger agrees and says: “Get her out and (make her) apologize to everyone!” The female passenger shouts again toward airline staff: “You, the airport should call the police too. How did she get on board (with a possum)?”

Police said the flight had been delayed “due to safety issues” and that the miniature possum’s owner had been taken into custody.

“Currently, Guo has been placed under administrative detention by the police in accordance with the law for her illegal behavior of disrupting order on public transportation,” the police statement said.

The flight eventually departed just over an hour after its scheduled time, arriving at Ji’nan’s Yaoqiang Airport shortly before midnight, 62 minutes after it had originally been due to land.

According to local media, the airline has not yet offered compensation or issued an apology to passengers.

China Eastern Airline has yet to make any statement regarding the incident.

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