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450lbs seal removed from northern Alaska airport’s runway

  • Airport workers in Alaska found a 450lbs seal when clearing the runway 
  • The lounging seal had to be removed from the runway using a sled
  • STaff said it was the first time they had experienced a seal on the runway 

Airport workers in northern Alaska had a shock discovery when clearing the runway of snow this week.

Lounging across the tarmac Utqiagvik, Alaska’s northernmost city, was a huge seal, blocking any attempt at takeoffs.

Monday morning’s traffic had to be delayed while animal control came in to remove the seal. 

You couldn’t make it up: The 450lbs seal was found on the runway at the airport in Utqiagvik

The seal was estimated to weigh 450 pounds, and was removed from the runway by way of sled, KTVA reported .

A photo and video of the bearded seal lounging on the runway in the town formerly known as Barrow was shared by Scott Babcock on Facebook .

The state Department of Transportation got in on the fun by warning pilots of ‘low sealings’ at the airport.

Meadow Bailey, the department’s communications director, said Utqiagvik, an Arctic Ocean coastal community on Alaska’s North Slope, experienced heavy storms Monday. Staff found the seal while clearing the runway.

Funny: The Alaska Department of Transportation joked about 'low sealings' at the airport

Funny: The Alaska Department of Transportation joked about ‘low sealings’ at the airport

The department’s staff members are not allowed to handle marine mammals, so the seal was removed by North Slope Animal Control.

The workers have seen birds, caribou, polar bears and musk ox on the runway, but the seal sighting was a first, Bailey said.

‘Wildlife strikes to aircraft pose a significant safety hazard and cost the aviation industry hundreds of millions of dollars each year,’ Bailey said. 

‘Birds make up over 90 percent of strikes in the US, while mammal strikes are rare.’ 


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