The Telegraph
Friday , August 24 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Thud...we screeched to a halt

An IndiGo airline flight to Delhi with around 89 passengers and six crew members had a close shave after it was hit by a flock of birds while taking off from Patna airport on Thursday morning. The plane, an Airbus 320, screeched to a halt after the pilot applied the emergency brakes. Satyaprakash, a resident of Begusarai posted in Delhi as chief general manager of State Bank of India, was among those on board. He narrated the experience to The Telegraph

The flight (6E 385) was ready to take off five minutes before its scheduled departure time of 8.10am. Just a minute or two before the engine started, the captain came out of the cockpit, stood in front of the passengers and said the flight was ready to take off and it would reach Delhi in 1 hour and 25 minutes. This was probably the first time I had seen a captain himself coming out of the cockpit and making the announcement instead of using the in-flight system.

There were around 89 passengers on the flight, which was on way to Delhi and then on to Hyderabad, Bangalore and Visakhapatnam. All of us had fastened our seatbelts and the plane started taxing (on runway 25 at the Patna zoo end). Barely five seconds after starting the final take-off run, the aircraft came to a screeching halt. At the same time, I heard a thud from the left side of the plane. As the aircraft stopped suddenly with a jolt, a number of passengers tipped forward and their cellphones fell down.

After the flight stopped, the captain announced that a flock of birds had hit the aircraft. He said the plane had to go to the parking bay where it would be checked.

A few minutes after the flight was taken to the parking bay, the captain made another announcement that the engine on the left had been damaged and therefore the plane was not fit to fly. We were asked to deplane. As I was coming out of the aircraft, I saw most passengers personally thanking the captain for saving their lives.

While waiting in the passengers’ lobby before boarding the plane, I saw several bird chasers bursting firecrackers around the boundary of the airport. The menace has to be controlled immediately as it could prove dangerous any day.