Airplane Emergency Lands After Gas from 2,186 Sheep Triggers Smoke Alarm

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 flying from Sydney was forced to perform an unexpected landing after the fire alarm of the airliner went off. It was not a passenger aircraft, though, but one carrying 2,186 sheep from Australia to Kuala Lumpur. Sure, that didn’t lower the risk, and the crew of four decided to land in Bali.
Airplane Emergency Lands in Bali after Gas from 2186 Sheep Triggers Smoke Alarm 1 photo
The cargo plane was flying just to the south of Indonesia when the smoke alarms sounded. There’s no messing around with the incidence of fire on board of an aircraft that large, so the crew immediately descended the airplane and diverted to Bali, where they landed about 45 minutes later, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Naturally, everybody assumed there was some fire or at least smoke going on in the back, but no trace of such thing was found. Instead, first responders identified the cause to be the exhaust gasses and manure produced by the sheep. Well, that’s a big Baaaa from the passengers in the back that probably disliked those bumps caused by the flight.

Can burping sheep release that much methane in the air?

Both cows and sheep contain bacteria in their gastrointestinal systems that help break down plant material. Some of these microorganisms use the acetate from the plant material to produce methane, and because these bacteria live in the stomachs and intestines of ruminants, whenever the animal burps or defecates, it emits the gas as well.

Whether or not livestock generates greenhouse gasses has become a serious matter in the study of climate change recently. Nine years ago, UN FAO reported it produced more greenhouse gasses as measured in CO2 equivalents than the entire transportation sector. Recent NASA research has confirmed the vital role of livestock eructation (burping) in global warming.

They may be cute and quite funny, but sheep also can be quite dangerous, apparently.
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