Spider Infestation Delays Flights at Kansas City International Airport

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 03:14 PM

By Ken Mandel

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A spider infestation of air traffic control caused flight delays on Saturday at Kansas City International Airport.

As many as five flights were stalled about 15 minutes each when air traffic controllers were besieged by the eight-legged creatures, which likely happened after a spider's nest egg hatched.

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The spiders bit three employees at the Air Traffic Control Center in Olathe, Kansas, which guides flights in and out of the large airport. Radar controllers were forced to evacuate the infested area and move to another area of the building as exterminators came in to handle the issue.

"We wanted to make sure everybody was safe and we got the airplanes on the ground as quickly as we could," National Air Traffic Controllers Association spokesman Aaron Merrick told NBC News affiliate KSHB.

Schendel Pest Control's CJ Workman said a spider mother will bite if she feels her offspring are threatened.

"You're talking in some spider cases up to 400 and in large breeds, you're talking 1000's from one mom," Workman said.

The FAA hasn't revealed which spiders were behind the infestation. Passengers were never at risk of being bitten, the organization said. The air traffic control center is located miles from the airport.

"It shows how important the safety of the flying public is for us as controllers because when something like this happened, we weren't going to allow it to impact the safety of the system," Merrick said.

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