Stowaway bee delays Garuda flight by 4 hours

JAKARTA • A bee delayed an Indonesian passenger plane by four hours after getting stuck in vital equipment and causing a problem with the aircraft's controls.

The flight, operated by the Indonesian flagship carrier Garuda, was scheduled to take off on Tuesday morning from the western island of Sumatra, and head for Jakarta.

But the pilot of the Boeing 737, which was carrying 156 passengers, decided not to take off after noticing a problem with the controls, Garuda said.

"An investigation found that the incident occurred because the plane's electronic engine control suffered a technical problem after an insect got into a pitot tube," airline spokesman Benny Butarbutar said in a statement yesterday . "Due to safety concerns, Garuda Indonesia decided to delay the flight."

Another Garuda official confirmed it was a bee that became trapped in the pitot tube - a vital piece of equipment that measures airspeed. After it was repaired, the plane took off and landed safely in Jakarta on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr Butarbutar said the incident was beyond the airline's control, but passengers were, nevertheless, given financial compensation.

Separately, an airline safety rating website has put several Indonesian airlines, including Lion Air, at the bottom of its list by giving them only one star out of a total of seven.

Sharing the bottom spot with them in the airlineratings.com survey is Nepal Airlines, The Jakarta Post reported.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Stowaway bee delays Garuda flight by 4 hours'. Print Edition | Subscribe