Mumbai-bound flight hits flamingos flock, kills 40 birds

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Caracasses of birds were found in different parts of the Ghatkopar area on Monday night and Tuesday morning

Workers lift the carcass of flamingos after a flight from Dubai struck a flock of flamingos resulting in the death of around 40 birds, according to officials, in Mumbai, Monday, May 20, 2024. Environmental activists have demanded a probe of the incident by DGCA. (PTI Photo)

Mumbai: At least 40 flamingos were killed after a collision with a Mumbai bound flight coming from Dubai. The flight reported the bird hit incident after landing safely at around 9.18 pm on Monday. Caracasses of birds were found in different parts of the Ghatkopar area on Monday night and Tuesday morning.

A Mumbai-Dubai Emirates flight carrying 310 passengers collided with the flock moments before its landing at the Mumbai airport. It suffered major damages, but landed safely, airport officials said.

The return flight, bound for Dubai, was canceled late on Monday night as the aircraft was grounded for a full-scale inspection. It left several passengers stranded at Mumbai airport. The return flight was rescheduled for departure at 9pm on Tuesday.

The Maharashtra forest department has launched an investigation into the incident after residents alerted a wildlife group about dead birds in the Ghatkopar area. Officials recovered the mutilated remains of the birds.

The forest department’s mangrove cell found 29 dead flamingos during a search operation on Monday night. More carcasses were found on Tuesday, an official said. The carcasses were sent for an autopsy and would later be disposed of as per the protocols.

“Our team is on the ground and a full-scale investigation has been launched to find out the cause of death of the flamingos. We will also record the statement of the pilot who informed the airport authorities about the bird hit,” SV Ramarao, additional chief conservator of forest, said.

It is believed that the flock of flamingos was flying towards the Thane flamingo sanctuary when it was hit by the aircraft. Activists said that the flamingos could have changed their flight path due to construction or pollution.

NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar in a release said he has sent an email to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and sought a high-level probe to ascertain how the Emirates aircraft hit the birds and whether the pilot could not notice the flock on his radar. “We are sad to say that it was a disaster waiting to happen,” the foundation said.