Passengers on a low-cost carrier had a lucky escape on Friday when their plane landed in a herd of up to 40 wild boars and skidded off the runway into the grass.
The incident happened to a SpiceJet aircraft at Dumna airport in Jabalpur, India, the Times of India reported.
One of the airline’s de Havilland Dash 8-400 twin turboprops, flying from Mumbai to Jabalpur with 49 passengers and 4 crew, was landing at Jabalpur in the early evening “when a herd of 30-40 boars strayed onto the runway prompting the crew to attempt averting the animals by turning left”, the Aviation Herald reported.
The aircraft veered off the runway and came to a stop on soft ground with the left main and nose gear collapsed. There were no injuries but the aircraft received substantial damage.
Three dead boars were recovered from the runway, with the Times of India running a photo of one of the carcasses.
A SpiceJet statement said: “The skilful and experienced hands of Captain Amartya Basu, who has more than 10,000 hours of flying experience, today helped to avert a major disaster by diverting the aircraft towards the left of the runway to moderate the impact of the event. Damage to the aircraft is still being assessed, however all the 49 passengers and 4 crew members are absolutely safe.”
It’s not the first time aircraft have struck animals on landing. In August 2013, Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air crashed one of its planes into a cow and skidded off the runway at Gorontalo airport on northern Sulawesi island.
That was a bigger aircraft, a B737-900. The pilot managed to avoid another two cows but struck the third, killing the unfortunate animal on impact.
On 3 November 2009, an Air Zimbabwe Xian MA60 aircraft hit five warthogs on take-off. The take-off was aborted but the undercarriage collapsed causing substantial damage to the aircraft. Several warthogs were killed.
Written by Peter Needham