Turtles cause flight delays at JFK

Flights at New York’s JFK Airport faced delays yesterday to allow turtles to cross a runway.

Services were halted for around 15 minutes as 150 diamondback terrapin turtles were spotted crossing a runway. They were trying to get to the other side of the runway to lay eggs on the sandy shores of a wildlife refuge, which borders the airport.

Airport staff helped the turtles on their way between take-offs and landings. Naturalists said the 185-acre Jamaica Bay refuge may be the diamondback's most popular breeding ground in North America.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Ron Marsico said pilots from Jet Blue and other airlines halted flights to let the expectant reptiles pass.

“Flight delays attributed to turtles were minor, about 15 minutes or so," he reportedly said. “It happens every year at about this time. It's the great migration, and this is the peak of the season.

"At one point, we decided to heed Mother Nature and use other runways. This is not impacting flights," Marsico said.

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