United Kingdom

Air India flight delayed after swarm of bees lands on cockpit window

Honey bees can be up to 15mm in length with queen bees measuring up to 20mm.  Bees often swarm when a queen bee leaves her colony to find a new home with other worker bees. 

An Air India flight was delayed on Sunday when a swarm of honey bees landed on the cockpit window, causing chaos before take-off. 

The pilots noticed the bees as the plane was due to leave the city of Kolkata for Agartala with 136 passengers and crew on board, including Bangladesh's information minister, Muhammad Hasan Mahmud. 

Officials said the swarm of bees was "attacking ground staff" and became angry when staff tried to remove them from the window. 

Windscreen wipers were then used to try and usher the bees away, but when this failed, officials decided to blast the insects with water. 

Fire services were called to fix the problem and airport official Kaushik Bhattcharya said they had to "spray water to dislodge the honey bees" and that "after nearly an hour-long operation," the bees could be driven away. 

An Air India spokesperson said further movement could have "damaged the plane and harmed the passengers" if the bees flew into the engines. 

Luckily, it was found that there was no damage to the aircraft and the bees did not enter through the engines.  The flight was delayed for more than three hours. 

It was previously delayed due to other technical issues but it eventually took off at 12.45 pm. 

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