Turtle delays Jetstar flight in Australia

Helen Coffey

A turtle delayed a flight from Australia’s Gold Coast airport after wandering onto the runway.

The pilot of a Jetstar flight bound for Adelaide on Thursday evening had to brake as the aircraft was taxiing in preparation for take-off.

The reptile’s amble brought it too close to the right side of the plane, and the pilot was anxious it might be sucked into the right engine.

He radioed the control tower, who sent staff to remove the errant animal.

It wasn’t the first time this particular turtle had caused disruption at the Queensland airport.

“They said he’d been up there earlier in the day as well,” a Jetstar spokesperson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “It was the second time they’d had to move him.”

Pilots at the airports have been warned to keep a weather eye out for the wannabe plane-spotter.

It follows the story of a turtle that came ashore on an island in the Maldives to lay her eggs in the middle of a new airport runway, built over what had previously been a beach and popular nesting site.

The green sea turtle – a species listed as endangered by the IUCN – was spotted on the 2,200m (7,200ft) Maafaru runway on the atoll of Noonu, laying her eggs on the tarmac.

Sea turtles almost always return to the beach where they were born to lay their clutches of eggs, sometimes taking epic, multi-year journeys to reach the same small patch of sand.

The turtle was reported to be in good health and was seen back into the sea by locals.