Friday, March 28, 2008

Dog-hit grounds flight in city

Dog-hit grounds flight in city

Bangalore: We’ve heard about birdhits. This time, though, it was a black dog. A Kingfisher Airlines aircraft readying for takeoff was grounded as it hit a dog that darted across the runway at HAL airport on Thursday night. The aircraft, an ATR 72, was taking off for Hyderabad at 9.50 pm when the incident occurred.
Two passengers who suffered shock have been hospitalized, police and ATC officials said. The 23 other passengers and four crew members are safe. The passengers claimed “many” of them were injured when they jumped off the plane for safety reasons, as advised by the crew. The airline confirmed two were injured.
A Kingfisher Airlines release quoted the commander as saying the black dog crossed the runway when the aircraft was on a roll. The pilots could not see the animal because the runway is dimly lit.
“The nosewheel came in direct contact with the dog. Owing to the speed and impact, the nosewheel got jammed. The aircraft was dragged up to a point before it came to a halt,’’ an official said.
The plane had gained momentum on the runway when the incident occurred. The pilots kept the aircraft under control. “The aircraft was on the central line of the runway and was immobilized for two hours,’’ a senior official said.
The official confirmed eight aircraft had to hover over the airport for more than an hour before they were diverted to Chennai and other cities.
However, one of the passengers told TOI he felt a tyre burst had occurred while the plane was in motion. “It came to an abrupt halt on the runway after the burst. All passengers were asked to come out of the aircraft through the exit doors that were opened soon after the aircraft halted. The air crew helped us a lot,” he said.
The aircraft was towed away. Dogs have field day at HAL Airport
Bangalore: Dogs have been the bane of HAL Airport. Civic authorities have not taken the issue seriously. Stray dogs enter from the rear wall and roam on the runway. Tall grass covers the point where they enter the airport. Airport authorities have repeatedly written to the civic bodies about the menace and requested action.
Vijay Mallya, chairman and CEO of Kingfisher Airlines, said: “It is most unfortunate that the dog menace at airports in India still persists and that an incident occurred today in Bangalore.’’
“The movement of dogs in the airport operational area is dangerous for aircraft movement. In case a dog comes across a moving aircraft on the runway, it may lead to a major accident. There are several incidents all over the country where dog menace created trouble to the movement of aircraft and caused monetary loss,” an earlier letter from a former HAL director to the erstwhile BMP stated. Dogs are also seen loitering in the parking area and the airport premises.
Meanwhile, within an hour of Kingfisher flight being grounded on the HAL Airport runway, five domestic flights were diverted to airports in Hyderabad and Kochi.
“The runway was closed since 9.50 pm, and no take-off nor landing was allowed. Soon after the incident, messages were flashed across the country and some international flights which were supposed to land on Thursday night were asked to reschedule,’’ ATC officials said.
“We already informed the Srilankan airlines authority and asked them not to take off,’’ officials added.


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