India's Jet Airways has voiced "sincere regret" and offered a lengthy public apology to the owner of a pet cat that was run over before boarding a flight from New Delhi to Singapore.
The contrite statement of more than 1000 words was posted on Facebook, explaining the circumstances around the "sad and tragic demise" of the cat called James Dean and promising a review of the airline's handling of animals.
The feline and its owner were to take a flight on Saturday, but James Dean leapt onto the tarmac and was run over by a vehicle before being loaded on to the plane.
The airline "minutely scrutinised and retraced the entire sequence of events" to ascertain the cause of the incident, according to the statement posted on Wednesday.
After going though closed-circuit camera footage, the airline "inferred that the pet forced itself out of the container by pushing the wire mesh and thereby creating a gap for it to come free".
"By the time our teams arrived at the accident site, the pet had passed away," said the airline, which added that it is trying to contact the owner personally to express its sorrow.
The distraught owner, who cancelled her flight, wanted to be taken to the accident site but security restrictions meant she had to make do with CCTV footage of the entire incident, the statement said.
"We wish to assure all our guests and animal lovers, that we have always benchmarked processes with international best practices and follow global handling procedures," said the airline.
"The demise of James Dean is indeed sad and tragic."