Simon, a continental rabbit who would have grown to be more than four feet long, died in the cargo hold of the Boeing 767 at some point after takeoff. It's unclear how or why he died exactly, but the circumstances are somewhat suspicious considering he was examined by a vet just hours earlier and found to be "fit as a fiddle," according to his breeder, Annette Edwards. A United spokesperson acknowledged the passing of the rabbit in an email to the The Sun, saying it was "saddened" by the situation and investigating the matter.
Continental rabbits are some of the world's largest, and at just 10 months old Simon was already a whopping three feet five inches long. His father, Darius, currently holds the Guinness Record for being the largest rabbit in the world, measuring four feet four inches and tipping the scales at over 50 pounds. Simon was reportedly en route to meet his new celebrity owner in the States. "The client who bought Simon is very famous. He’s upset,” Edwards said.
Of course, it's not unheard of for animals to die on airplanes. According to the US Department of Transportation, 35 animals died in transit over the course of 2015 in the US, across 17 different airlines. However, United Airlines accounted for 14 of those deaths, meaning nearly half of the animals that died during a flight that year did so on a United plane. That's not a good look.
h/t New York Times
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