Two Marham jets in bird strike drama

Lorna Marsh Two RAF Marham crews escaped without serious injury last night after both their Tornados had to request emergency landings after suffering birdstrikes.

Lorna Marsh

Two RAF Marham crews escaped without serious injury last night after both their Tornados had to request emergency landings after suffering birdstrikes.

Both crews were on training exercises around county Durham when the incidents happened within about 35 minutes of each other.

At about 4.55pm one Tornado overshot the runway at Newcastle International during an emergency landing, causing damage to the undercarriage.


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Then at 5.30pm another plane reported a birdstrike taking one engine out of action and the crew requested to land at Teeside airport but eventually made it safely to RAF Leeming.

All military personnel escaped with minor bruising.

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The first Tornado was in the process of landing at Newcastle International when it failed to stop.

The airport spokesman said it was unclear if the earlier birdstrike affected the plane's ability to brake.

The warplane came to rest on

the grass at the end of the runway

away from the terminal, near Dinnington Road

The road was closed as a precaution because of the radiation threat from the jet's flare, but the plane was not carrying explosives and by 6.15pm officials confirmed it posed no hazard to the public.

With the runway closed, incoming flights had to be diverted to Durham Tees Valley or Manchester airports for a period of about two hours.

The airport reopened later and the spokesman said staff were working to help clear the backlog in the terminal.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “A Tornado GR4 from 13 Squadron RAF Marham made an emergency landing at Newcastle Airport.

“Nobody was injured in the incident and the RAF will recover the aircraft as soon as possible. We regret the inconvenience caused by the closure of Newcastle Airport's runway. An inquiry will be held.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said officers were called to the airport at 5pm and confirmed the aircraft was not carrying any explosive equipment or material.

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