'Endearing' Reason for Delays at JFK Airport

Dozens of migrating turtles
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2017 1:27 PM CDT
Weird Reason for Delays at NYC Airport: Dozens of Turtles
This undated photo provided on July 15, 2016, from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey shows a diamondback terrapin turtle on a JFK Airport runway in New York.   (Port Authority of New York & New Jersey via AP)

Bird strikes at New York City-area airports have been known to cause emergency landings, but a different type of creature kept some planes from even taking off this week, the AP reports. As part of their annual migration ritual, about 40 diamondback terrapin turtles emerged from Jamaica Bay Friday afternoon and creeped onto the runways at JFK International Airport in Queens, causing some flight holdups, per the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "There were planes briefly stuck in [the] queue," a Port Authority spokeswoman tells the New York Daily News, adding that although it's turtle mating season, the event "was a little unusual."

Experts told DNAinfo last year that although turtles typically head to the beach to lay their eggs, NYC turtles seem to like the sand that surrounds this particular airport. Officials say that when pilots spot a turtle in their taxiing path, they'll either hang out until the turtle moves on or have airport staff move the turtle from harm's way. Gothamist rounded up some passenger reaction to Friday's event, with one commenter calling it "perhaps the only excuse I have ever found endearing." (At least the turtles didn't fall out of this guy's pants.)

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