The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mid-air scare for cricketers
- Emergency landing after birds hit plane; Teams take special flight to Mumbai

Nagpur/Mumbai: The Indian and Australian cricketers survived a scare on Monday morning as their Jet Airways flight to Mumbai were hit by two eagles and a parrot 10 minutes after take-off.

A strange sound preceded the smoke as the birds collided with the right engine, former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja, who was on board the plane, told The Telegraph after landing later via a special flight in Mumbai.

The 9W 112 aircraft made an emergency landing around 9.30am. All passengers on board were safe.

The players were later accommodated at a city hotel. The flight from Mumbai arrived in the afternoon to pick up the stranded passengers.

Five blades of the second engine of the Nagpur-Mumbai flight were damaged, it was learnt.

“There was some jerk and the pilot announced that we would be returning because of a technical problem. There was no panic as such,” a member of the Team India support staff said.

Australia media manager Philip Pope confirmed that things on board were calm.

According to another passenger on the aircraft, there could have been panic had the plane stopped climbing after being hit.

Five players from the home team — Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan, along with cricket manager Lalchand Rajput — had left for Mumbai on Sunday night after the sixth and penultimate ODI.

“It’s not a big issue and no one was tense as planes being hit by birds are a common phenomenon and the pilot decided to come back for a tech-nical check-up,” the airline official added.

Rameez, however, praised the way the captain of the aircraft handled the situation.

Emergency vehicles lined the runway for landing but were not needed.

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