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Passenger plane makes emergency landing at Norwich airport following bird strike

PUBLISHED: 13:41 15 July 2012

Norwich Airport. Photo: Mike Page

Norwich Airport. Photo: Mike Page

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A passenger plane made an emergency landing at Norwich airport yesterday (Saturday) after a bird struck the aircraft shortly after take-off.

The 1pm BMI service to Aberdeen was just one mile west of the city when a small bird, believed to be a swallow, flew into one of the engines.

The captain decided to turn the aircraft around and make a precautionary forced landing – prompting the activation of an emergency plan which called police, ambulance and fire crews into action.

But the plane, carrying 19 passengers and three crew, landed safely at 1.11pm,

Richard Pace, operations director at Norwich International Airport, said: “The captain reported that the bird had gone down one of the engines and decided to come back as a precaution. At 1.11pm the aircraft landed safely, taxied as normal and the passengers disembarked safely.

“We declared a full emergency and it activated an emergency plan which included the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Norfolk Constabulary and the East of England Ambulance Service. All my reports say everyone reacted in accordance with the plan.

“Bird strikes are not common, but they are something we have to take account of. It is infrequent that an aircraft has to come back and make a forced landing. We have a robust bird control policy, using a multitude of tools to make sure the risk is kept to a minimum. “Clearly in this case, the captain felt a forced landing was in order.”

Mr Pace said the passengers were delayed by five-and-a-half hours before departing on a replacement aircraft. The damaged aeroplane was still at the airport this afternoon (Sunday).

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