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Dog bites cause emergency landing in Pittsburgh

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Monday, Dec. 6, 2010

A US Airways flight was diverted to Pittsburgh this morning because a 12-pound Manchester terrier named Mandy bit a passenger and flight attendant, the airline said.

Flight 522 was en route from Newark to Phoenix when a pilot notified authorities of the incident at 7:22 a.m. The flight had 122 passengers and five crew members.

“The captain felt in the interest of safety, it was better to land and have them looked at than continue on,” said US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher. He said the airline allows passengers to bring small dogs on board as long as they remain in a carrying case that can fit under their seat.

The bite victims reboarded the flight and continued to Phoenix after being treated by paramedics, said Allegheny County police Inspector David Walsh.

Officials found an alternate flight for the dog and its owner, an unidentified 89-year-old woman from New Jersey who was headed to Palm Springs, Calif. The woman will not be charged in the incident.

Walsh said it appears the dog became agitated as its sedatives began wearing off. A man seated next to the woman tried to soothe the animal. The dog bit the man, broke out of the cage and then ran up and down the aisle of the plane barking. A flight attendant who grabbed the dog also was bitten.

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