Swarm of bees downs British aircraft

A thick cloud of bees forced a passenger jet pilot to abandon a holiday flight and ground passengers for 11 hours, an airline executive said on Saturday.

A Palmair Boeing 737 travelling from Bournemouth, on the southern English coast, to Faro, in Portugal, was forced to turn back when a swarm of the insects was sucked into an engine.

“The pilot experienced an engine surge about an hour into the flight,” Palmair managing director David Skillicorn said. “He returned to Bournemouth and we found what appeared to be a large number of bees smeared inside the engine.”

Skillicorn said a huge cloud of the insects was seen off the Bournemouth coast shortly before the flight on Thursday. “Some witnesses claimed there were around 20 000 bees,” he said.
Around 200 passengers were delayed while the company carried out repairs and eventually replaced the aircraft, Skillicorn said. -AP