Qantas plane forced to return after bird strike

November 17th, 2010 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 17 (IANS) A Qantas flight with 171 passengers on board was forced to return to Johannesburg in South Africa after birds hit one of its engines, the Australian airline said Wednesday.

Birds struck one of the four engines on flight QF64 from Johannesburg to Sydney just after take-off about 6 p.m. local time Tuesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The aircraft will remain in Johannesburg indefinitely as the strike caused considerable damage to the engine of the Boeing 747.

“There was a bird strike … and the flight crew followed procedure and the aircraft was stable and able to land safely,” a Qantas spokesman said.

The passengers on board face delays of at least 24 hours, the spokesman said.

“All passengers have been accommodated, most of them will fly on a delayed service Wednesday and a few may go on tomorrow’s service,” he said.

The Qantas spokesman said bird strikes are a rare occurrence for commercial airlines.

Tuesday’s problem added to the woes of the airlines, which has seen its planes affected by engine troubles.

On Nov 4, the airline was forced to ground its A380 fleet after an explosion tore apart the superjumbo’s Rolls-Royce engine over the Indonesian island of Batam.

Two days later, Nov 6, a Boeing 747 plane suffered an engine failure flying out of Singapore and was forced to turn back.

A Qantas Boeing 767 carrying 234 passengers to Melbourne was forced to turn back to Perth Nov 13 after the flight crew noticed a problem with the engine.

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