• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Dubai-Mumbai Emirates Flight Strikes Flock of Flamingos, Damaging Plane and Killing Birds

An Emirates flight from Dubai to Mumbai was damaged after encountering a flock of flamingos shortly before landing on Monday. The incident resulted in the deaths of several migratory birds but did not cause any injuries to passengers or crew, according to an airline spokesperson.

The spokesperson confirmed, “The aircraft landed safely and all passengers and crew disembarked without injury.” However, the plane sustained damage during the incident, leading to the cancellation of the return flight EK509, which was scheduled to depart for Dubai on May 20.

Emirates, based in Dubai, stated that they are “cooperating with [Indian] authorities on the matter.” The airline made arrangements for all passengers of flight EK509 to stay overnight and provided a replacement aircraft, which departed Mumbai on Tuesday, May 21, at 9 pm India time.

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Indian media reports indicate that at least 36 flamingos were killed in the incident. Wildlife experts fear the actual number may be higher. Pawan Sharma from the Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW) noted the unusual nature of the event, saying, “This is the first time such a large number of flamingos have been hit.” He expressed concerns that some bird carcasses were too damaged to be recovered.

Mumbai airport, surrounded by wetlands that attract large numbers of flamingos from December onwards, has recorded over 600 cases of bird strikes between January 2018 and October 2023. Sharma highlighted the threat to both resident and migratory birds from aircraft, stressing the need for mitigation measures to prevent such incidents in the future.

“This incident underscores the importance of evaluating flight paths and implementing strategies to safeguard crucial habitats,” Sharma added.

The Emirates spokesperson assured that the airline is committed to resolving the situation and ensuring the safety of both passengers and wildlife. Further investigations are underway to understand the full impact and to develop preventative measures.

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