A bird struck a plane’s propeller on Monday, causing it to disintegrate and smash through one of the cabin windows.
According to an Airlink statement, none of the passengers or crew were injured and pilots were able to land safely, but the aircraft sustained substantial damage.
Dramatic passenger photos show an almost entirely shattered cabin window, a frayed segment of the right hand propeller, damage to the inside of the fuselage and debris strewn across the plane aisle.
“Yesterday an Airlink Jetstream 41 aircraft operating a private charter flight struck a large bird upon landing at Venetia airfield,” said the carrier.
“In compliance with aviation protocols and regulations, the occurrence was reported to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) which will conduct an investigation.
“The aircraft remains at Venetia airfield pending the SACAA’s inspection and a full damage assessment.”
Aviation blogs and social media fans were quick to circulate the images, with one Twitter user commenting: “Remind me never to sit by a prop again! Thankfully no one hurt on this J41. It sure as hell would have woken you up if you were napping onboard.”
Bird strikes are a very real threat to aircraft, with most incidents occurring shortly before landing - though data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows that only around 4.5 per cent of incidents cause damage to the plane.
They are estimated to cost airlines over $1bn a year in damage and delays.
In 2019 another Airlink plane was struck by a vulture near Kasane Airport in Botswana, gouging a substantial hole in the nose of the aircraft.
In October, a Ryanair flight which had taken off from Manchester Airport was forced to make an emergency landing in Liverpool seven minutes into its journey when a bird hit the engine, making a noise that “sounded more like a motorboat or a propeller engine”, according to one passenger.
The same month, a vulture smashed into the nose of an Iberia flight as it descended into Madrid, causing severe damage to the nose cone of the aircraft.
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