Bees on Russian plane panic passengers

An airport official smuggled a hive of bees on to a plane, panicking passengers when they escaped mid-flight.

Moscow: An airport official smuggled a hive
of bees on to a plane, panicking passengers when they escaped
mid-flight in one of a series of lapses at the provincial
Blagoveshchensk facility, reports said on Thursday.

The bees made a break for freedom during a flight to
Moscow from the far eastern city after they were illegally
stashed in a box in a coat locker in business class, a
spokesman for the Yakutia airline said.

"It was frightening. The passengers were in shock," Andrei
Savostin said.

"The crew showed heroism. The (stewardesses) managed to
tape up the cloakroom doors to stop the bees flying out."
The incident on May 28 was exposed today in a front-page
story in state newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta which alleged
systematic failures at Blagoveshchensk airport.

Carrying insects aboard a plane is banned under Russian
aviation rules, but the bees were carried on by the airport`s
deputy director, Anatoly Smirnov, who skipped security checks,
Rossiiskaya Gazeta alleged.

The passengers included officials from Moscow, who were
seen off by the deputy governor and seated in business class,
it reported.

Blagoveshchensk`s transport prosecutor told Rossiiskaya
Gazeta that the incident had been investigated and the airport
management had been sent a letter of warning.

The prosecutor, Denis Mazein, declined to answer questions
by telephone.

At the same airport earlier this month, an airliner
overshot the runway on landing, seriously damaging the plane
and prompting the regional governor to reprimand the
management for decrepit equipment and security lapses.

Lax security at Russian airports was exposed in 2004 when
two suicide bombers bribed their way on to flights at Moscow`s
Domodedovo airport, despite lacking valid tickets.

In June a woman was caught at the same airport, Russia`s
busiest, after managing to board a plane without a ticket,
documents or any luggage.


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