The incident took place on a flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles on March 19

By Robyn Merrett
March 20, 2019 09:41 PM
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A dog has tragically died on an Air France-KLM flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. The pet was being transported in the cargo hold.

In a statement to PEOPLE, an Air France spokesperson said the owner was notified of their dog’s death following the 11-hour transatlantic flight on Tuesday.

“A dog was found dead in the cargo hold of the KL601, after a flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles on March 19th. The dog’s owner has been notified and we express our condolences,” the statement read.

“In cooperation with the local health authority in the US, the CDC, the dog was initially examined to ensure there was no immediately obvious public health threat.”

At this time the dog’s cause of death is unclear, however, the airline says the pet “was loaded correctly according to KLM’s pet policy.”

“We have to wait for the results of the necropsy to determine the cause of death.”

However, an Air France employee alleged the dog, a husky, was incorrectly loaded in the cargo hold and lost oxygen during the transatlantic flight, according to TMZ which was the first to report the incident.

The owner, who has not been identified, was reportedly left devastated after learning their dog had died, the outlet reports.

Los Angeles International Airport
| Credit: Ken Ross/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images

According to the airline’s policy, passengers are allowed to take a small cat or dog with them into the Economy Class cabin.

The pet must be carried in a pet travel bag and can weigh no more than 18 lbs. The pet must also be stored in the seat directly in front of the owner and cannot be taken out of its travel bag or kennel during the flight.

The airline also notes that there is a limited amount of space for kennels on the plane and so larger pets may travel in a ventilated part of the cargo.

Though the hold is ventilated, flight attendants are not able to give pets traveling in the cargo in food or water.

A rep for PETA spoke out about the incident telling TMZ, “Tragedies like this one are exactly why airlines must require that animals travel in the main cabin only. PETA urges AirFrance-KLM to join airlines such as JetBlue and Southwest in prohibiting companion animals from being flown in the cargo hold, where they endure noise, extreme temperatures and sometimes inadequate pressurization, before yet another sensitive animal suffers and dies, terrified and alone.”