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Saturday, 1 February, 2003, 00:53 GMT
Mouse grounds Swiss plane
Swissair aircraft stand on the Kloten Airport, 2001
Officials feared the mouse would gnaw through cables
A Swiss plane has been grounded for more than a day and two trans-Atlantic flights have had to be cancelled - because of an escaped mouse on board.

One of the two mice, destined for use in laboratory experiments, escaped from a container in the hold of Switzerland's national airline, Swiss, on a flight from the American city of Boston.

According to a spokesman from the airline, the mouse was not where it was supposed to be when the Airbus-330 touched down at Zurich airport.

A quick check of the container revealed that the rodent gnawed an escape route through the side of the box.

Short taste of freedom

Authorities were forced to gas the mouse by pumping carbon dioxide through the hold, as they feared the rodent could bite through vital wire and cables.

The spokesman said using cheese or a cat to retrieve the mouse would take much more time.

As the result, the Airbus-330 was grounded for 36 hours, and the airline had to cancel a flight from Zurich to New York and the return leg.

A flight from Geneva had also to be diverted to pick up stranded passengers.

A spokesman said that Swiss was used to dealing with escaped rodents.

In 2001, a plane from the Dominican Republic had to be grounded overnight at the Zurich airport after one of the co-pilots spotted a mouse on board.

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15 Jan 01 | Europe
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