KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — One of Narita Airport’s runways was closed off for 12 minutes after the surprise appearance of a tortoise.
According to The Mainichi, it was spotted by a pilot who then alerted aircraft control of the animal’s presence.
A total of five flights were delayed for about 15 minutes as a result of the tortoise’s presence on the 4,000-meter runway last Friday.
The runway was ordered closed by the Narita International Airport Corp who carried out checks and moved the tortoise to safety.
Airport administrators said that the tortoise weighed in at 2.1 kilogrammes and is about 30 centimetres long.
It was rescued by one of the workers from the airport’s firms using a net and is believed to have originated from the airport’s retention pond about 100 meters away.
Although there have been regular cases of cats, raccoons, dogs, and other animals entering the runway, the appearance of a tortoise is very uncommon.
The Narita International Airport Corp is looking to ascertain what type of tortoise it is before planning what to do next.
Amongst the five planes that were delayed in the 11.35am incident was an All Nippon Airways (ANA) aircraft.
The ANA A380 Airbus has a Hawaiian-style green sea turtle design on its fuselage and is for use solely on trips to and from Hawaii, but its regular flights were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The delayed trip for the double decker aircraft was its first trip to the southern city of Naha in Okinawa Prefecture, as part of their special tour.
The airline released a statement in response to the incident, saying, “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.”