Rabbits on runway, pilot brakes in another plane's path

Bengaluru-Ahmedabad flight involved; DGCA orders probe

Rabbits on runway, pilot brakes in another plane's path

Rabbits on the runway nearly caused a collision of two planes here on Friday, but alert action by the ATC and the aircrew saved the day.

An Indigo flight from Bengaluru to Ahmedabad had landed on runway No 23 late on Friday. As it was taxiing towards the apron for parking, the crew observed rabbits moving about, and braked.

By then, the Air Traffic Control had cleared the Delhi-bound SpiceJet flight SG 912, with about 140 passengers on board, to line and take off. They realised the IndiGo plane, 6E-166, had not moved out of the runway completely: its nose was on the taxiway and tail on the runway.

They immediately called ‘hold,’ prompting the SpiceJet plane to abort take-off at the last minute. The ATC later instructed the SpiceJet Boeing 737-700 to move to the back and await clearance for departure.

“The IndiGo pilot informed the ATC he had observed rabbits on the runway,” an official told DH. He said the ATC follows a protocol in such situations, and the aircraft were at a safe distance from each other. The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation has begun a probe, a source said.

Earlier incident

In November 2014, seconds before take off from Surat airport, a SpiceJet plane thudded to a halt after hitting a buffalo that had strayed on to the runway.

The engine of the Boeing 737 was severely damaged, and the buffalo killed. With 146 passengers on board, the flight couldn't take off. It later turned out the animal had sneaked in from a 300-metre gap in the airport’s 12.5 km-long boundary wall.

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