Turtle on tarmac delays five planes take-off at one of worlds busiest airports

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A turtle on tarmac caused five planes to be delayed at Japan’s second-busiest airport.

After spotting the shelled creature crawling across the runway at Narita international airport near Tokyo, a pilot contacted air traffic control.

Incredibly, one of the aircraft made to wait for the reptile to be removed was wrapped in giant sea turtle imagery.

Oblivious to the chaos it was creating, the 2.1kg and 30cm long turtle went for the wander on Friday morning at around 11:35am.

As a result, departing aircraft were at standstill for 15 minutes as staff checked the rest of the 4,000-metre runway for any other unusual surprises, The Mainichi reports.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's Narita Airport office, an All-Nippon Airways Airbus A380 was one of the planes waiting for the rescue mission to be completed.

Which funnily enough had been designed to look like a family of sea turtles taking to the skies.

The decoration introduced in July last year was to celebrate the carrier’s service to Hawaii, where the animals are regarded as sacred.

A spokesman for the airline said of the unexpected disruption on Friday: "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."

Narita International Airport Corp which is more used to dealing with stray cats, racoon dogs, and rabbits, took the turtle to safety.

Officials suspect it had climbed out of the airport’s retention pond about 100 metres from the runway.

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Coronavirus travel restrictions led to ANA using its turtle-themed fleet of A380s on domestic routes, as its 14 weekly flights to Honolulu were cancelled.

The pilot who first spotted the creature was set to take off for the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

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  • Airbus

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