Mouse Grounds Plane For Over 5 Hours

(AP) A mouse intent on flying to Atlanta prompted officials to ground a plane for more than five hours Thursday in Des Moines. A flight attendant spotted the mouse before passengers boarded the 5:50 a.m. Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight. About 30 passengers were kept waiting at the gate until the plane finally left about 11:30 a.m.

"The safety of our passengers is our number one priority," said Kristen Loughman, an ASA spokeswoman. "Our maintenance team was called. They inspected the aircraft, which is why it was delayed."

Loughman said she could not confirm whether the mouse was removed before the plane took off, but she said a safety inspection was required to ensure the mouse hadn't gnawed through anything that could cause safety issues.

Loughman said all passengers were rebooked on other connecting flights in Atlanta.

Atlanta-based ASA runs regional flights for Delta Airlines.

Gary Hagen, a Des Moines International Airport spokesman, said the delay was an airline issue and did not effect the airport operations.

"They went through all the things they had to do according to the situation," he said.

The airport has been extremely busy in recent days as people leave for spring break, Hagen said.

"There's a lot of traffic up there so we're trying to keep that under control," he said.

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On the Net: Atlantic Southeast Airlines: http://www.flyasa.com

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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