Pilot forced to turn plane back to Dublin airport after bumblebee found in the cockpit
A passenger on a flight that was forced to turn back after a bumblebee became lodged in one of its instruments has described the 'light hearted atmosphere' on board once passengers heard about the problem.
Noel Rooney boarded the appropriately-named flight BE384 from Southampton to Dublin last Friday when the pilot announced they would have to turn back shortly after take-off.
"About 15 minutes into the flight the pilot came over the radio to say there was a problem with the navigation system and we had to return to Southampton," Mr Rooney told RTE Radio One's News at One programme.
"Then he announced that there was a bumblebee stuck in the measuring instrument.
"It was unbelievable really. The reaction of everyone on the plane was one of light heartedness. Some people who had been complaining about being delayed for the next flight livened up a bit.
"I've never experienced something like that before," he continued.
"The pilot said he'd had a bird strike, but he'd never had a bee strike."
The passengers waited patiently for up to 40 minutes on the plane while the aircraft's instruments were cleared of the bumblebee's remains.
"I'm afraid the bumblebee didn't quite survive the impact of the plane. Everyone was quite well-behaved, we sat there for 40 minutes while they took the remains from the instrument.
"What was worse was the plane didn't have time to finish the buffet service," Mr Rooney joked.
A spokeswoman for the airline FlyBe said the flight was airbourne when it returned to Southampton following a suspected technical issue.
"The aircraft landed without incident and all passengers disembarked as normal," she said.
"Upon inspection, Flybe engineers did discover that the cause of the issue was a bee that had become lodged in an item of instrumentation on the outside of the aircraft."
Flybe said the safety of its passengers and crew is the airline's number one priority.
"Flybe regrets any inconvenience experienced as a result of the delay to this flight," she added.