Hyderabad, Nov 14: 150 passengers had a close shave when an Hyderabad-bound IndiGo aircraft hit wild boar on the runway during take-off on Sunday at Vizag airport. According to IndiGo officials, the pilot of flight 6E-742 saw the boar, but it was too late to abort take-off. The crew members of the plane informed the Air Traffic Control (ATC) about the incident, after which the runway was cleared of the carcass for the aircraft to return for touch down.
The incident took place when the plane was taking off at 10 pm. Though the pilot managed to take off the plane, the accident damaged the rear wheel of the aircraft. Hence, the plane could not immediately return as the damaged rear wheel failed to retract.
Since it was dangerous to land the plane with the fuel tank full, pilots decided to fly over the sea for 45 minutes burning fuel before landing at Vizag airport. In a statement, IndiGo said, “Flight 6E-742 from Vishakhapatnam to Hyderabad hit a wild boar on the runway during take-off. The captain immediately reported the matter to ATC and decided to hold over Vizag. After runway inspection, the pilot carried out a precautionary landing at Vizag airport after 45 minutes for necessary inspection.” The safety of passengers and crew was not compromised, it added.
Vizag airport director G Prakash Reddy said they have raised the matter with INS Dega, which controls the airport. Speaking to a newspaper, Air Travellers Association (ATA) president D Varada Reddy said it was surprising how a wild boar entered the airport, which is fortified with a wall.
“In 1972, a cheetah had entered the airport, triggering terror. There were no compound walls at the airport at that time. Now, the wild boar menace is serious. We will bring this to the notice of the civil aviation ministry and airport authorities to take immediate measures for safeguarding the welfare of air travellers,” Varada Reddy was quoted as saying.
The IndiGo flight, which was supposed to reach Hyderabad by 11.15 pm, took off only at 1 am and reached Hyderabad on Monday 2.15 am.