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False Bee Alert

Written by on Monday, 17 April 2006
Culture and History, Kazakhstan
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A British Airways machine on its way to London was diverted to Uralsk in northern Kazakhstan after a fire alert on the plane. The Boeing 747, however, could not take off again as the runway was unsuitable. Three smaller aircraft had to collect the passengers. Also, as Uralsk airport is not used to seeing big Boeings land on a daily basis, people had to exit the jumbo by ‘first stepping on to the top of a tall airport vehicle’.

The reason for the fire alert? The plane was carrying a ‘cargo of bees’. Could the fire sensors have mistaken a swarm of bees for a fire?

The jet was also carrying a cargo of bees, but despite reports that they had caused the emergency by setting off the fire sensors, they were said by the spokeswoman to have been found still in their original container.

The Kazakh authorities were shocked:

“It landed at 6.45 our time on April 15 and gave us quite a shock,” said Kaliula Karagoishin, a spokesman for the regional governor, Nurgali Asimov.

“This was certainly an unusual event for us,” he said. “We don’t get such big birds landing every day.”

The passengers were seemingly scared being forced to land in… where? Kazakhstan. It doesn’t take a lot to imagine how 300-odd Aussies/Brits must have felt when…

“…the aircraft drew a lot of attention whilst on the ground. Police, Army, the Mayor all coming on board, the local press was there.”

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