A Donkey Walks Into Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport

It might sound like the beginning of a lame joke, but it’s a real story. A donkey wanded into Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport in Israel, inside the actual terminal buildings, stunning security, and passengers. 

Donkey
The donkey (also mentioned to be a mule in some sources) wanted to find a flight. Photo: Simple Flying

What are the details?

According to YNetnews.com, a donkey escaped from a farm that is near the main airport for Tel Aviv on Wednesday and wanded its way down the highway. After being bemused for a few minutes outside the departure drop off area (which many passengers will undoubtedly relate to), the donkey wandered into the terminal building itself.

You can check out a video of this event here:

The animal didn’t appear to be frightened and wandered the departure hall looking at puzzling items like the flight information screens, conveyor belts, and low-cost-carrier baggage limit displays.

The animal was left undistributed until Agriculture Ministry personnel arrived to carefully coax the creature outside and return it home. Thus far as we can tell, this event did not result in delays, cancelations or affected travelers plans.

How did the staff react?

As this event was rather random, it left quite the reaction on staff running the late-night shift.

“This is the weirdest thing that ever happened to me during a shift,” said a night shift worker to Ynetnews.com. “It was very, very late – at first, I thought I was dreaming.”

“But I wasn’t! The mule was led outside, given food a drink and then taken away,” she finished.

Other staff can be heard in the video calling after the donkey and yelling into their radios for other security members to come and see the spectacle. “Ruthie, come quick,” one of the officers can be heard saying, followed by hearty laughter.

el-al-747-retirement
The airport is the hub airport for Israels national carrier El Al. Photo: Dmitry Terekhov via Flickr.

Is this a common occurrence?

Long-time readers will recall that a few months ago a bear wandered into a Siberian airport, causing mass panic and shutting down the terminal for several hours.

A donkey is a far more benign animal most of the time and because this event happened so early in the morning on Wednesday, it doesn’t appear that the airport was very busy at the time. It would have been far worse had the animal wandered onto the runway, where it would at best have paused all traffic, or at worst caused a major accident.

But some airports actually want animals like donkeys or sheep present, such as O’Hare. The Chicago hub airport employs a herder and a team of 30 animals, a mix of goats, sheep, and a donkey named Jackson, to manage the wild natural vegetation found alongside runways and buildings. The grazing herd will be on hand at the airport several weeks per year to munch down the greenery and tall grasses, on 16 acres of land on the west side of the airfield.

Why do you think the donkey wanted to get on a plane? Let us know in the comments.

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