HOUSTON, July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A "cat"astrophe was averted today at the airport at Providence, R.I., thanks to the humanitarian efforts of several Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) employees who rescued "Muffy," a gray and white feline, from the wheel well of one of the airline's MD80 aircraft.
The incident began at approximately 6:30 a.m. when the pet escaped from its kennel held in the baggage room of another carrier. The cat darted across the ramp and crawled into the wheel well of Continental flight 1477 as employees were preparing the aircraft for its on-time departure to Newark International Airport. Continental crews worked for more than seven hours to
bring the cat to safety, including a failed early morning attempt to lure the cat from the wheel well with fresh salmon. The cat was finally pulled to safety after maintenance crews removed the aircraft's wing to body faring panel at 1:30 p.m. local time. Continental returned the cat to its originally scheduled airline so that it may be reunited with its family.
"Continental has long been the preferred carrier for customers, I guess that reputation has extended to the animal world as well," said a Continental spokesperson. "We're told Muffy appreciated the efforts of the Continental employees who rescued her. They are truly the cat's meow."
While the frightened feline never posed a danger or threat to the aircraft nor its ability to fly, Continental executives canceled the morning departure from Providence to Newark for "humanitarian" reasons. The 82 customers on board were sympathetic to the dilemma and were reaccommodated on later flights to their final destinations.