Mombasa-bound KQ plane collision with a bird nearly turns fatal

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In a rather bizarre incident, a Kenya Airways plane from JKIA was forced to make an emergency landing after a collision with a bird.

According to reports, KQ604 had just taken off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when it was hit by a bird strike.

According to the Kenya Airways website, the Embraer plane took off at 10:11am headed to Mombasa.

The bird strike is reported to have caused an engine glitch that forced the pilot to turn back to JKIA for repair.

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Bird strikes are a significant threat to flight safety, and have caused a number of accidents with human casualties.

There are over 13,000 bird strikes annually in the US alone.

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Most accidents occur when a bird (or birds) collides with the windscreen or is sucked into the engines of mechanical aircraft. 

The plane which was carrying an unknown number of passengers was expected to land in Mombasa at 10:56am.

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No injuries were reported.

According to reports, the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines crash which killed 157 people has been revealed to be a possible bird strike.

It is believed the Boeing 737 Max suffered a damaged ‘angle-of-attack’ sensor upon takeoff from a foreign object which could have been a bird, ABC News reports.

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This reportedly triggered erroneous data and the activation of an anti-stall system that sent the plane down on March 10 shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The Central Science Laboratory estimates that worldwide, the cost of birdstrikes to airlines is around US$1.2 billion annually.

Should fliers be worried about collisions with birds?

This cost includes direct repair cost and lost revenue opportunities while the damaged aircraft is out of service.

Estimating that 80% of bird strikes are unreported, there were 4,300 bird strikes listed by the United States Air Force and 5,900 by US civil aircraft in 2003.

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“Aircraft are designed and built to withstand bird strikes and pilots undergo rigorous training to enable them to deal with eventualities like a bird strike,” said BALPA flight safety specialist, Stephen Landells.

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“In my flying career I have experienced 10 bird strikes, none of which caused any significant damage. On half the occasions, in fact, due to the small size of the birds, I was not aware that I had hit one until inspecting the aircraft after landing.”

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