ARLINGTON, Va. — It was a showdown that stopped flights at Reagan National Airport
A turtle versus a 42-ton airliner.
It was 5 p.m. Monday evening when United Express Flight 3551 was about to depart for Chicago O'Hare. Suddenly, the pilots noticed something out of the ordinary on the threshold of the airport's southbound runway.
"We've got a turtle crawling across the end of 19," the pilots told air traffic controllers, who asked which direction the turtle was going. The pilots replied, "Southwest."
A few minutes went by on the recording from LiveATC.net when tower controllers again inquired about the amphibian's intentions, apparently still on the runway threshold.
"He's still on the pavement but on the left side," replied the pilots of the 170-passenger jet.
A few more minutes went by until the United Express flight was cleared for takeoff.
WUSA9 reached out to United and Reagan National Airport for comment.
The FAA database of wildlife strikes shows only one collision with a turtle at Reagan National Airport since 1990.