A turtle forced officials at Japan’s Narita Airport to temporarily suspend flights after it wandered onto the runway.
According to The Guardian, the turtle strolled onto the runway of the international airport on Friday morning, delaying five flights.
A pilot alerted traffic control after spotting the reptile on the tarmac, leading to a 15-minute delay as staff went to collect the animal.
They then removed the turtle from the runway and checked the area for other objects, causing the delay, according to the Mainichi Shimbun.
The Guardian reported that among the planes delayed on the runway was an All-Nippon Airways Airbus A380, which is decorated with images of sea turtles.
Unveiled in July, 2020, the decorations were meant to celebrate the airline’s service to Hawaii, where sea turtles are seen by some people as a traditional symbol of wisdom and good luck.
Before the COVID pandemic, the plane would have made 14 weekly flights to Honolulu, but it has since been diverted to cover domestic journeys.
It had been set to fly to the southern Japanese island of Okinawa when the turtle sparked the delay, which lasted several minutes.
According to the Mainichi Shimbun, airport employees sometimes remove animals, mainly raccoons as well as stray cats and dogs.
Airport officials believe the turtle might have escaped from its retention pond, found just yards away from the airport, according to the outlet.
In a statement obtained by The Guardian, All-Nippon Airways said of the incident: “In Hawaii, sea turtles are seen as bringing good luck, and we hope this turtle that came to see the flight off signals a bright future.”
Newsweek has contacted All-Nippon Airways for comment.
Tortoise in Tokyo
In an equally unusual setting, the attention of Japanese citizens was caught earlier this year when a giant tortoise was seen taking a walk with its owner through the busy streets of Tokyo.
The large African spurred tortoise, named Bon-chan, wandered down a city street with owner Mitani Hisao in the area of Tsukishima.
A TikTok video posted by @sugiomark in June went viral and showed the turtle as it slowly made its way around the city.
“His name is Bon-chan and he’s 25 years old,” a narrator says during the video.
The explanation continued: “Mr. Mitani’s wife bought him when he was smaller than the size of the palm of his hand. They expected him to get big, but not this big. And he started to grow rapidly as soon as he hit 10 years old. Now he weighs 70 kilograms, which is about 150 pounds.”
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