LONDON: In a bizarre incident, a plane from Southampton to Dublin was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing due to the presence of an unwanted passenger, a bee.
A Flybe plane with a few dozen passengers travelling from Southampton to Dublin turned back after the pilot of flight BE384 decided to return to the airport following a "suspected technical issue". Engineers combing the plane on the ground for the source of the issue got a sting in the tail when they discovered the tiny yellow and black culprit, which did not survive the ordeal.
"Flybe can confirm that flight BE384 travelling to Dublin returned from airborne to Southampton following a suspected technical issue. The aircraft landed without incident and all passengers disembarked as normal," a spokeswoman was quoted by The Independent as saying.
"Upon inspection, Flybe engineers did discover that the cause of the issue was a bee that had become lodged in an item of instrumentation on the outside of the aircraft," she said. "The safety of its passengers and crew is the airline's number one priority and Flybe regrets any inconvenience experienced as a result of the delay to this flight," she added.
While back on the ground, the passengers told how the pilot announced the bumblebee's remains were being removed from the instruments before they could take off again on Friday.The plane had been in the air for around ten minutes before returning to Southampton, media reports said.
The flight was then delayed by two hours before it embarked for a second time. Passenger Noel Rooney said, "Well, that's never happened to me before. A bumblebee got stuck in the wind instrument on the Flybe flight BE384. Yes, Flybee."
Insects can cause serious problems for planes. In 1996, wasps blocked a pitot tube –- which measures airspeed -– on a Boeing 757 flying from the Dominican Republic. The plane crashed killing all 189 people on board shortly after take-off.
And in 1980, a Florida Commuter Airlines flight with wasps in its pitot tubes crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, killing 34 people.