A Teeny Turtle Caused an Adorable Flight Delay on an Australian Runway
On Thursday, a Jetstar flight from Australia's Gold Coast to Adelaide had to patiently wait out a delay. Though there was nothing wrong with the plane and the weather was perfectly clear, the aircraft had to sit on the tarmac and wait out another culprit — a tiny turtle.
"They aren’t the fastest-moving creatures," first officer James Fuller told USA Today in a statement. "I’ve seen rabbits on the runway before, but in my four years flying with Jetstar, I’ve never seen a turtle on the tarmac. I want to thank customers for their patience while we gave the little fella right of way."
Fuller additionally told the Brisbane Times he radioed the tower and was informed it “was the second time he'd been up there that day." Fuller added that the turtle was “about a foot long. With the cooler weather he was enjoying a sunbake out there on the tarmac. So we just put the park brake on.”
Air traffic allowed the plane to wait out the turtle’s crossing, which took about four minutes in total. The turtle was then relocated to a less populated area.
And it appears passengers weren’t too upset about the incident. Passenger Lachlan Burnet shared her praise for the airline’s crew on its Facebook page, writing, "Wanted to give a shoutout to our flight crew ... who brought the plane to a stop for a few minutes while taxiing at OOL to allow a gorgeous little turtle to cross the taxiway in front of the aircraft and make his way (yes, slowly – give him a break ... It's a turtle!) to the creek near the airport fence," passenger Lachlan Burnet wrote on the airline's Facebook page. "Made mine and the other passengers' day to see that. Lovely stuff, JQ pilots! Well played."
While this one particular incident is adorable, wild animals can truly wreak havoc on flights. Birds are the biggest culprit when it comes to delayed or even canceled flights. According to the Bird Strike Committee USA, bird collisions cause more than $650 million in damage to U.S. civil and military aircraft every year. Though surely a tiny, meandering turtle could be just as menacing… if he really wanted to be.