Plane hits buffalo during take-off in India

An Indian airliner crashed into a stray buffalo during take-off from the western city of Surat although no passengers or crew were hurt.

The plane’s operator, SpiceJet Ltd, said it was forced to ground the Boeing 737 which suffered “substantial damages” in the collision.

SpiceJet said the buffalo, which was killed in the accident on Thursday evening, was “essentially invisible” against a dark background. Passengers on the Delhi-bound aircraft were transferred on to another plane, it added.

“Stray animals are a growing menace in some airports,” SpiceJet said in a statement.

“This incident has affected our regular operations and hence SpiceJet flights from Surat will now be suspended after this incident.”

Poorly maintained fences at some Indian airports mean animals can stray onto runways.
Collisions with unusual animals are not uncommon elsewhere. Last year US airports recorded 11,000 animal strikes. While most involved birds, other creatures struck included deer, coyotes, turtles, bats and alligators. In one incident in Florida a plane even struck a fish – thought to have been dropped by a passing osprey.

Last year a sheep was hit near a private aircraft near Rhigos Airfield in Wales, but escaped unhurt.
SpiceJet services were suspended following the collision (Photo: Getty)

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