April, 1933, Canadian Airways Limited bulletin
by H. Cook
The April, 1933 edition of Canadian Airways Limited’s bulletin included a story about a couple of raccoons that escaped their cage as they awaited their flight. It’s a mystery as to how the raccoons got out of their cage and those responsible could not explain the occurrence either. The article does not explain the flight plan, but there is a Clarke City east of Quebec City, Quebec. The article makes mention of Old Quebec, so it’s possible the flight originated in that area. The plane mentioned is our own Fairchild 71-C, CF-AKT.
Pete says that most certainly the weights were never removed from the top of the case and that the slats were so close that one of them had to be pried open when the animals were fed – yet – there was the case empty and no sign of the raccoons. How they escaped is still the most debated question at St. Louis airport.
Yesterday a phone message was received from the C.P.R. express office requesting that a case, consigned to Clarke City, be called for. This was done and it was discovered that the consignment consisted of two raccoons housed in a crate and addressed to Dr. S. Fraser.
The raccoons were transported to the airport where they were to spend the night. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to know what vitamins raccoons required so advice was requested from the Zoological Gardens. The keeper advised bread and milk or small portions of beef with water, so bread and milk they had. Evidently such fare in a province noted for its hospitality provoked resentment, for on arrival at the airport this morning the case was found unopened and still piled high with weights but the raccoons had departed.
Pete reported that at 2 am he was disturbed by a noise and saw one of the raccoons prowling around the stores. While he watched, he saw a slat lifted slowly, a sharp noise appeared, and then saw, what looked for all the world like two coals of fire in the darkness. The little goblins, thought Peter – and Crac, the other was out. When he went to the case it was empty yet everything was as secure as before.
As the mail plane had to leave early, an immediate search was made through the hangar. After about fifteen minutes’ search one of the raccoons was found hanging near the ceiling in a corner of the coal store, while the other had hidden in a box where it had made itself comfortable. The capture of No. 2 in the box was comparatively easy, but that of No. 1 was a much more difficult affair. He resisted capture with teeth and claws. Pulling a bag over him met with little success, so efforts were made to grab him and drop him in the bag, but he resisted strongly. Finally, he was pulled from his perch by means of a hooked stick and dropped into the case held beneath. The top was quickly nailed down and placed aboard CF-AKT in charge of pilot Wardle. Three and a half hours later, these two strange little passengers were delivered safely at their destination, where one of them promptly expressed his resentment at the treatment by biting a man at the very first opportunity.
Pete still affirms they lifted the cover. If you ask him about the weights he shrugs his shoulders. One may see strange things at 2 am in Old Quebec.
This article originally appeared in the April, 1933 edition of the Canadian Airways Limited bulletin.