Around 50 passengers aboard a SpiceJet flight had a close shave on Friday after a herd of wild boars marched onto the runway after the plane had landed at Jabalpur, swinging the aircraft off the runway.
The incident, which took place around 7.45pm, left around seven boars dead and SpiceJet’s Q400 aircraft grounded with damage to the its left landing gear and undercarriage.
Sources said the Mumbai-Jabalpur flight was on the “landing roll” when around 30-40 boars marched on to the runway.
“The pilot lost control of the aircraft causing the aircraft to swing off the runway… None of the passengers or crew suffered injuries,” said a SpiceJet official.
“The skilful and experienced hands of the Captain helped to avert a major disaster by diverting the aircraft towards the left of the runway to moderate the impact of the event,” the airline said.
“No pilot is trained to land on runways infested with animals and Jabalpur airport has a chronic history,” another official said.
The incident takes place as the International Civil Aviation Organisation is conducting an audit of aerodromes in India.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently ordered a surveillance of 20 airports across the country after repeated incidents of wild animals intruding runways.
In September, a herd of pigs were on the runway as President Pranab Mukherjee’s aircraft was taxiing towards the terminal building after landing in Nagpur. Ten days later, around ten rabbits were spotted while a commercial flight was landing at the same airport. In November last year, a SpiceJet flight with over hundred passengers onboard hit a buffalo on the runway in Surat.