El Al has a good safety record among human passengers. Among horse owners, though, its reputation has just taken a hit.
American officials are now investigating the death of an equine traveler on El Al flight 831, which arrived at New York’s JFK Airport from Belgium on Friday morning.
The flight was carrying a 1-year-old European warmblood horse named Virteuse, who didn’t survive the journey. Worth $140,000, the horse apparently didn’t enjoy the early stages of the flight, “kicking forcefully” about 30 minutes into the trip, according to its onboard handlers. It then settled down for the remainder of the trip, dying at an unknown point before landing.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now performing a necropsy — an autopsy for non-humans — to identify the cause of death.