Turtle holds up air traffic at Narita Airport

A turtle found on a runway at an international airport serving Tokyo prevented aircraft from taking off for a short time on Friday. One of the planes left idling on the tarmac features a turtle design.

Staff at Narita Airport said that a pilot spotted the turtle on a runway at around 11:30 a.m. One of the air hub's two runways was shut down for about 10 minutes.

Five departing flights were delayed for up to 15 minutes. One of them was an All Nippon Airways double-decker aircraft headed for the southern city of Naha in Okinawa Prefecture. It has a Hawaiian-style green sea turtle design on the fuselage.

The turtle on the runway was captured by airport staff. It was dark green, about 30 centimeters long and with a weight of about 2 kilograms.

It may have come from a nearby reservoir. Narita International Airport Corporation says it will find out what type of turtle it is to determine whether it can be placed in a natural habitat.

A source close to the airport says it is rare for a turtle to be captured on a runway and delay departures.

A cabin attendant who was onboard the ANA aircraft expressed surprise at the coincidence and said that passengers and crew took off in a buoyant mood despite the delay.