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WEIRD WEDNESDAY: Why did the turtle cross the tarmac?

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Safety

Tagged: , , ,

Published on July 15, 2009 with 2 Comments

Last week (7/8/09) at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, air traffic slowed to a crawl. Actually, it came to a screeching halt, thanks to a parade of more than 70 romantically inclined diamondback terrapins who emerged from nearby Jamaica Bay in search of good breeding grounds.

Although delays of up to 90 minutes were experienced, everyone took the incident in stride. Apparently, it has happened before, and Port Authority workers knew just what to do: gather up the wayward creatures and redeposit them in waters farther away from the airport.

From the AP (by way of Huffington Post):

The invasion began unfolding, slowly, at around 8:30 a.m., when an American Eagle flight crew reported seeing three turtles while taxiing out for departure. Before long, a chorus of pilots was radioing the tower to report turtles either on the end of a runway that juts out into the water, or approaching on the grass.

The FAA halted flights for about 12 minutes shortly before 9 a.m. while some of the turtles were cleared away, then quit using the runway entirely after getting new reports of “massive numbers” of turtles on the tarmac, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman John Kelly said airport crews gathered up the turtles in about 35 minutes.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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There are currently 2 Comments on WEIRD WEDNESDAY: Why did the turtle cross the tarmac?. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Slowwww down there. It seems every state has its creatures to contend with. I Utah we bow to the Prairie Dogs and Desert Tortoise among many other endangered or threatened species. Kudos to the pilots for seeing the turtles and reporting them! I really enjoyed this story.

  2. Da kann ich nur zustimmen – super

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