- The Thomas Cook Airbus A 321 was carrying 170 passengers from Gambia
- It landed safely despite both engines and the landing gear being damaged
A Thomas Cook plane bound for London was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing last week when it flew into a large flock of storks.
The Airbus A321, which was carrying 170 passengers from Banjul airport in Gambia, suffered damage to both engines and the landing gear when it ingested at least 13 of the birds shortly after taking off.
‘We heard big bangs and felt the entire aircraft shake,’ Berkshire-based flight attendant Kayleigh Loveridge wrote of the incident on Facebook on Friday, adding that the pilot shut one of the engines down before making a safe landing back in Banjul.
The Airbus A321 suffered damage to both engines and the landing gear, pictured, when it ingested at least 13 of the birds shortly after taking off
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook confirmed reports of the incident to MailOnline on Sunday, praising the crew’s ‘extremely professional’ handling of the situation.
Ms Loveridge, whose post garnered more than 1,000 ‘reactions’, claims that at least 13 storks were confirmed dead but said there were probably ‘many more’ not on the runway.
‘Tuesday 8th November was not “a typical day in the office”‘, she wrote, ‘We took off, and on our climb we went through a flock of approximately 50 storks, causing a bird strike to both engines – meaning that both engines were damaged and not functioning the way they should have.
‘We heard big bangs, felt the entire aircraft shake, shortly followed by one of our emergency commands from the flight deck.’
The pilot shut down one of the engines before making a safe landing back in Banjul, and at least 13 storks were confirmed dead as a result of the collision, pictured
Flight attendant Kayleigh Loveridge wrote of the incident on Facebook on Friday, pictured
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook praised the crew’s ‘extremely professional’ handling of the situation, confirming that the plane’s 170 passengers were unharmed (stock image)
She added that the crew were then briefed for an emergency landing back in Banjul, as well as the passengers.
‘We emergency landed, rolled at a very high speed and for a very long time with the fire engines following our trail until the aircraft eventually came to a halt,’ Ms Loveridge wrote.
‘We had landed. We awaited for the command to brace and evacuate – it never came. Our flight deck had managed to land the aircraft safely, without hesitation.’
Ms Loveridge concluded: ‘In all, I cannot fault the team work on this rare and eventful day. It has not made me scared to fly again or work as cabin crew.’
According to Thomas Cook, all the passengers spent the night in a hotel and returned safely back to London the following day. The damaged plane was fixed in Banjul and returned to the UK on Saturday night.