Cheetah Causes Qantas Flight Delay

Fliers stuck on a tarmac in Melbourne were shocked to find out the reason for the long wait was a cheetah being loaded into the cargo hold.

According to, the Qantas flight was supposed to takeoff at 8:10 a.m. for Adelaide, but cargo handlers were having such a hard time with the wild cat passengers had to wait until after 9 a.m. to depart.

"We're sorry for delay, but we're having some problems loading the cheetah ... we have to do it very carefully," the captain announced after a little while.

It was another half hour after his announcement before passengers were told the cheetah would be unloaded due to "safety," and would be flying on a later flight.

"It was just an issue with the type of pallet it was on," confirmed a Qantas spokeswoman to the news outlet. She said cargo handlers were having technical problems loading the cat and the pilot decided to take off without the precious cargo.

The spokeswoman admitted the delay "was a bit of an unusual one," but said the airline carries thousands of animals each year.

"We've transported fairy penguins, gorillas, crocodiles, horses, dogs, cats and livestock," she said.

The cheetah, a female named Tokoloshe, took off about two hours later aboard a different flight. She was being flown from Perth Zoo to Adelaide's Monarto open range zoo, where she is expected to help in the zoo's breeding program.

Australia's Herald Sun talked with Monarto Zoo's carnivore keeper Anna Bennet, who said Tokoloshe was "in good spirits" when she finally reached her new home.

"She's none the wiser of the slightly longer journey," Bennett said.

"She's had a good sniff around and she's happy to be out."

Rightly so, the passengers on the original flight to Adelaide were happy to be out as well.

From cockroach infestations to MIA baby pythons, check out our list of most unexpected flight delays.

Photo, wwarby, flickr.

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