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Swarm of cicadas forces flight delay for White House press pool

Posted at 7:42 AM, Jun 09, 2021

A flight that was scheduled to take members of the White House press corps to Europe ahead of President Joe Biden's first foreign trip was delayed for several hours on Tuesday.

The cause? A hoard of cicadas, which caused mechanical problems with an airplane.

The plane was scheduled to leave Dulles International Airport at around 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. However, CNN and NPR report that airport officials told press members that the flight was delayed because cicadas had swarmed onto the airplane late Tuesday afternoon.

According to NPR, some of the cicadas had "filled the plane's engines, causing mechanical issues." CNN reports that the airline eventually had to bring in a new plane.

The flight took off early Wednesday morning, more than six hours behind schedule.

Biden departed for an eight-day trip to Europe at 8:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Prior to boarding Air Force 1, he warned the press pool assembled on the Joint Base Andrews runway to "watch out for the cicadas."

Much of the East Coast and Midwest is currently in the midst of the Brood X cicada emergence — a large outbreak of the bugs that emerge every 17 years.

Cicadas aren't just causing problems with airplanes — earlier this week, the Cincinnati Police Department reported that a rogue cicada caused a single-car crash in the city when it entered a vehicle through an open window and hit the driver in the face.