TCook Flight Turns Back After Tangle With Big Birds

Open Jaw

Splattered with blood and feathers, an MT A321-200 holiday flight was forced to turn back after it ploughed through a flock of large birds, damaging its engine fan-blades and landing gear.

The plane was heading for London from Banjul Airport in Gambia, West Africa, a popular spot with British holidaymakers.

A flight attendant described hearing loud bangs and feeling the aircraft shake as the plane struck the birds during the incident last week, Britain’s Daily Mirror reported.

The attendant wrote on Facebook: “We took off, and on our climb we went through a flock of approximately 50 storks, causing a bird strike to both engines. Both engines were damaged and not functioning in the way they should have. We heard big bangs, felt the entire aircraft shake, shortly followed by one of our emergency commands from the flight deck.”

The aircraft returned to Banjul for a safe landing about 45 minutes after departure. The Aviation Herald added that 13 dead birds were recovered.

It’s still unclear what type of bird was involved. Various reports cited white storks or ducks. The white stork, which migrates between Europe and Africa, is a large bird weighing up to 4.5kg. Flying into a flock could potentially be disastrous.

A Thomas Cook spokesman told the Mirror that passengers were accommodated overnight in Banjul and flown home on a different plane the following morning, “while the damaged aircraft was repaired and arrived back in the UK last night.

“We apologize for the unavoidable delay to their return journey.”

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