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What To Do When There's A 450-Pound Seal On The Airport Runway


Let's head up north - way north - to the northernmost point of Alaska, the city of Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow. Earlier this week, Scott Babcock, the airport foreman, was out blowing snow.


SCOTT BABCOCK: So it was just another day here at the old Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport. We got some traffic on the runway. It's a seal.

BLOCK: That's Babcock, who shot video of the 450-pound bearded seal on the runway and posted it to Facebook. Now, at this Alaskan airport, wild animals out on the runway - not unusual. But a seal - that's apparently a first.


BABCOCK: What do you know?

BLOCK: Yeah. What do you know? It's unclear just how the seal ended up on the runway. Also unclear was how to get it off.


BABCOCK: So Alaska Airlines is going to come out here and backtaxi with their jet, and, hopefully, the jet engine will spook this guy off the runway. If not...

BLOCK: Yeah, that didn't work. Instead, Animal Control maneuvered the seal onto a sled and pulled it off the runway with a snowmobile.


BABCOCK: Awesome.

BLOCK: Apparently, the seal enjoyed the ride to the beach. He saw the ocean, and his eyes got really big, one witness says. It was all fodder for a bunch more entries to #alaskaproblems.

(SOUNDBITE OF 6IX TOYS'S "GIGGLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.