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Jan 12, 2018 09:12 AM IST | Source: PTI

Holy cow! Two flights abort landing, few delayed as cow strays near runway in Ahmedabad

An Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to Ahmedabad and a cargo plane were diverted to Mumbai when their pilots spotted a cow near the runway

A cow strayed near the runway at Ahmedabad airport early on Thursday forcing at least two international flights to abort landing and divert to Mumbai.

Some other flights were delayed because of the incident.

An Etihad flight from Abu Dhabi to Ahmedabad and a cargo plane were diverted to Mumbai when their pilots spotted a cow near the runway at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, sources said.

Ahmedabad Airport Director Manoj Gangal confirmed the incident, while the Airports Authority of India has sought a probe into it.

A senior official of the Airports Authority of India said the animal entered the "operational area" of the airport and there was danger that it could stray towards the runway.

It was a "freak incident" that took place at 3:00 am when a gate was opened for two vehicles and the cow followed them, he said, adding the CISF personnel manning the gate should have been more vigilant.

Airport sources said CISF personnel and other staff used scare-guns and sticks to drive the cow out of the operational area.

It took about one-and-a-half hours to get the cow out. By that time, two flights had to be diverted to Mumbai and five arrivals, and a few departures were delayed, they said.

"Our first concern was safety, and everything is safe at the airport. I shall be able to comment further only after getting the inquiry report," Gangal said.

An AAI spokesperson said, "The AAI chairman has sought a detailed report from the Airport Director (APD), Ahmedabad Airport, on the incident. He has also been asked to ascertain involvement of any human negligence in the incident."

"The APD has been directed by the chairman to take stringent steps to avoid any such occurrences in future," he said.

According to official data, in 2017, there were more than 1,000 incidents of bird strikes as well as animals colliding with planes at various airports in the country.

The figures indicate a 50 percent increase in such cases since 2014, which witnessed 719 bird or animal hits.

There were 81 instances of animals straying into the paths of planes last year. Such incidents have doubled in the last three years. In 2014, around 40 such incidents were reported.
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