One afternoon when Scott Babcock was working at an airport in Alaska, he got a call from flight services about something blocking the runway. When he went to check it out — he found a 450-pound seal.
The very large seal had traveled a mile from the ocean and decided to end his journey in the middle of the runway at the Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport. The airport workers are used to disturbances on the runway, but the sudden appearance of a huge seal shocked them.
“On northern runways, we see birds, caribou, polar bears and musk oxen … but not usually seals,” Meadow Bailey, communications director for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.
Babcock observed the seal for a while, but the seal was very comfortable on the runway and had no intention of letting anyone scare him away from his spot.
“The seal didn’t appear annoyed or alarmed — it just did what seals do,” Babcock said.
Eventually, animal control was called. Officers were able to load the seal onto a sled and pull it safely off the runway using a snow machine.
Of course, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities posted about the silly encounter on their Facebook page. Some of the “punny” responses included, “His fate was (almost) sealed,” and “Putting the seal of approval on departure times.”
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