An IndiGo flight with 159 people on board hit a wild boar on Sunday while taking off from Visakhapatnam airport, PTI reported on Tuesday. The flight had to return to the airport to be checked for damage, an was delayed by nearly three hours.
IndiGo officials said the pilots saw the boar straying on to the runway but could not abort the take-off at that stage, The Times of India reported. The crew asked Air Traffic Control to clear the runway of the carcass so that the plane could return.
But the pilot could not land the flight immediately, as the rear wheel was damaged in the run-in and failed to retract. As it would be dangerous to land a plane with a full fuel tank, the pilots flew over the sea for 45 minutes. The flight was supposed to land at Hyderabad at 11.15 pm on Sunday, but finally took off at 1 am on Monday morning.
IndiGo confirmed the incident. “According to standard operating procedures, the captain immediately reported the matter to the Air Traffic Control and decided to hold over Vizag,” the airline said in a statement.
“We’ve raised the issue with INS Dega, which controls the airport,” Visakhapatnam airport director G Prakash Reddy told The Times of India. “We have asked authorities to take measures to clear wild animals from the airport area to prevent mishaps.”
The accident comes just days after the airline came under fire for a video that shows its ground staff assaulting a 53-year-old passenger at the New Delhi airport. Earlier this week, IndiGo apologised after another passenger fell off her wheelchair while being pushed by an employee at the Lucknow airport.