POKHARA, Oct 1: Just three days after a Sita Air plane crashed, reportedly, after being hit by a bird in Bhaktapur district, two aircrafts were hit by birds in Pokhara on Monday.
However, neither aircraft, one operated by Buddha Air and the other by Yeti Airlines, suffered serious damages, reinforcing the claims by some aviation experts that the Sita Air plane could not have crashed just because of a bird-hit.
Yeti Airlines pilot SL Maskey successfully landed his aircraft (9 N AJC) at Pokhara airport, while Buddha Air pilot Amrit Gurung continued the flight. Even after being hit by a bird, the Buddha Air plane (ATR 42) flew to Kathmandu and landed at Tribhuvan International Airport.
According to Pratap Babu Tiwari, chief of Pokhara Airport, the bird rammed into the propeller of the Yeti Airlines plane that took off at around 3:39pm. The plane was carrying 25 passengers and three crew-members. “The propeller still has blood stains on it,” said Tiwari. “A potentially deadly accident has been averted.”
Pilot Maskety had reported about the bird hit within six minutes after the take-off. “The bird hit was reported when the plane was only around five miles away from the airport,” Tiwari said. “We asked the pilot to land the plane at Pokhara.”
Early in the morning, the Buddha Air plane was also hit by a bird when it was just taking off. “The plane suffered a bird hit while taking off,” said Tiwari. “We allowed the pilot to continue with the fight as he did not report any damage.”
Tiwari says birds are major nuisance during flights to and from Pokhara. “We have even deployed a person, especially for chasing birds away,” he says. “Yet, cases of bird hits are quite common in Pokhara.”