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Rabbit on runway – flight hits the brakes

May 29, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An Air New Zealand flight slammed on the brakes and aborted take-off after crew spotted a rabbit on the runway – only to repeat the performance during a second take-off attempt, when two rabbits were sighted.

The rabbits delayed the flight from Kerikeri in New Zealand’s far north to Auckland, the New Zealand Herald reported.

A passenger told the paper that when the flight braked again on its second take-off attempt, the captain announced: “It was two rabbits this time.”

After the first attempt ended in full braking, the passenger said. “It was just like: ‘Woah! Oh my God, we’ve had an accident as we’re leaving the runway or something’.”

As passengers and cabin crew regained their composure, the captain came on the public address system to announce: “Well, I’m very sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but a rabbit was crossing the runway”.

The announcement brought laughter and relief to the 30 or so passengers, even when the captain explained that the aircraft would have to return to the terminal for safety reasons while plane and runway were checked.

Ground crew drove onto the runway to check for rabbits, alive or dead. None were found.

On the second take-off attempt, the plane braked again and passengers were told two rabbits had been spotted.

The flight successfully took off from the opposite side of the runway, the paper said, arriving about 35 minutes late. The flight, NZ8275, is customarily operated with a de Havilland Dash 8 aircraft.

Written by Peter Needham

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