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Two escaped bulls delay flights at French airport for five hours

Animals needed to be put to sedated before being fully removed from the site

The animals escaped from a nearby field and wandered onto the airport tarmac Pic: alberto clemares exposito / Shutterstock

Flights from an airport in eastern France saw delays of up to five hours yesterday (September 25) after two bulls invaded the tarmac and caused havoc for passengers and staff alike.

The bulls who were based on a pasture close to the Annecy-Mont Blanc airfield escaped from their usual field and began to roam free early in the afternoon. 

Frightened by their new surroundings, they broke a fence and ended up on the airport’s runway, grounding flights from 14:00 onwards.

The airport is situated only around 5km from Annecy’s historic city centre and is surrounded by residential units and pastures. It is mostly used for private or chartered flights.

Officers used ‘herd effect’ to remove bulls from airport tarmac

Firefighters used a novel method to remove the bulls – releasing two more bulls into the area to calm the escapees and coax them into moving away.

By doubling the number of animals in the area, authorities created a “herd effect… to aid their capture,” said one of the firefighters.

This allowed the bulls to be driven off into a more remote location, where they were less frightened, disruptive and dangerous. 

Once isolated, firefighters shot the bulls with anaesthetic arrows to sedate them, then with the help of the animals’ owners and local gendarmerie – alongside its air transport brigade – returned the animals safely to their usual field. 

Thankfully, no people or animals were injured during the operation.

The airport resumed normal service around 19:00.

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