MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – Flights from the Indian airport of Surat have been suspended after an airplane smashed into a buffalo just before takeoff, AFP reports.
"A Surat-to-Delhi SpiceJet aircraft, Flight number SG 622, carrying around 140 passengers excluding crew members today hit a stray animal on take-off roll at Surat airport," said an airline company official.
All of the 140 passengers and crew members are reported to be safe, but the crash damaged one of the engines and grounded the plane.
India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati said that an inquiry into the incident is required, RIA Novosti correspondent Bijendra Singh reported from New Dheli.
Stray animals pose a serious danger to airplane safety as they can lead to serious accidents and cause injuries. Animals wandering onto landing strips are practically invisible during nighttime take offs and have the potential to cause serious catastrophes.
“Animals straying into terminals and runways are a very serious safety concern. The airport authority is responsible for ensuring such things don't happen. Proper fences should be maintained,” Indian official said, cited by India Today.
Pusapati called a special meeting on Friday, which was attended by representatives of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other Indian officials. The participants claimed that an immediate action should be taken to ensure that the airport fencing is not breached in order to avoid such incidents in the future. AAI is also planning to send special teams to other Indian airports next month to examine the situation and take appropriate measures if necessary.