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A bird, a plane, a polar bear? Wild guests at Alaska airport

This Oct. 23, 2017, photo provided by Scott Babcock shows a seal that wound up on the runway at the airport in Utiqiagvik, Alaska. A sled was brought in to remove the seal in the community formerly known as Barrow, Alaska. (Scott Babcock via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Many airports have problems dealing with bird strikes, but the one in America's farthest north community is having issues lately with marine mammals.

Two polar bears found their way onto a runway at the airport in the city of Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow. Two months ago, it was a bearded seal.

Equipment operator foreman Scott Babcock says he was wrapping up an early morning runway inspection when he saw the young bears. They ran off when they saw his truck.

Babcock, who recorded the encounter on video, says airport personnel aren't authorized to harass or chase the protected marine mammals.

He says he was happy they ran toward a snow dump rather than airport buildings or equipment where they could have been a danger to people.

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