Indonesia is home to many terrifying creatures such as giant man-eating pythons, crocodiles and Komodo dragons. But, to our knowledge, none of those have grounded an airplane before. However, that feat has been accomplished by a humble bee… and a swarm featuring several thousand of his closest friends.
The incident took place on Friday at Medan’s Kualanamu International Airport shortly after Citilink Indonesia flight QG 885 from Bantam landed at around 11:40am. Just as the plane was shuttling to its parking spot, passengers were alarmed to see that the vehicle’s right wing was suddenly surrounded by a swarm of bees. Photos of the thick black cloud clinging to the plane quickly went viral on social media.
Citilink’s vice president of corporate communication, Benny S Butarbutar, confirmed the event had taken place and noting that all passengers had been deplaned safely at the terminal while ground staff attended to the bee problem.
“At 12:30pm the bees were removed by spraying the wing with water from the airport fire extinguisher unit so that the wings would be clean again,” Benny told Tribun.
Benny said that after the bees were removed, the entire plane was reexamined according to flight safety and security procedures. No technical problems were found so the plane was eventually allowed to proceed on its return trip to Batam. Although the bees managed to cause a 90-minute delay, the plane arrived in Batam safely and without further incident.
As for what caused the bee’s odd behavior in the first place, Benny said it was still being investigated by airport officials. In fact, he said that similar insect incidents had taken place, though never to such a terrifying degree.
He said one theory was that logging activity in the area had disrupted the bees natural habitat, causing them to look for new locations to set up their hives.