Flight Delayed After Penguin Races Onto Runway at New Zeland Airport

There are plenty of things that can delay a flight but this might be one of the strangest incidents. A plane was delayed at a New Zealand airport after a penguin made its way onto the runway.

The Wellington International Airport in New Zealand posted on Instagram that they had an “unusual little visitor” that wandered onto the tarmac. An airport spokesperson said an Air Chathams flight had been preparing to take off when the blue penguin wandered out onto the runway.

“The pilot and passengers patiently waited while Wellington Airport staff raced out to collect and help the visitor,” the post said. “Our runway sensors were reading 50 degrees [122 degrees Fahrenheit] at the time, so it’s no wonder they weren’t particularly happy!”

Airport staff had to quickly scramble to make sure the flightless bird was brought to safety. Jack Howarth, the airport’s wildlife officer, took the penguin to the Wellington Zoo for a check-up. Zoo veterinarians determined that the penguin was a 6-week-old fledgling.

“Though thin, hungry, and a little underweight, the fledgling was otherwise in good health,” a zoo spokesperson said. Officials confirmed that the penguin was placed on a weight-gain diet by veterinarians and will be cared for until its feathers become fully waterproof.