A pilot told shocked tourists that a seagull had hit an aircraft’s engine – while he displayed the severed remnants of the bird in a plastic bag.
The Thomson flight, which was travelling from Bournemouth to Tenerife, was forced to make an emergency landing at Gatwick Airport yesterday morning after a seagull hit the engine shortly after takeoff.
Thomson Flight TOM6248 had just departed Bournemouth airport at 8.21am when the incident occurred.
Posting on Twitter, passenger Eric Jackson shared a series of bizarre photos which showed the pilot addressing the passengers while holding the bloodied remains of the bird in what appears to be a sandwich bag.
Eric wrote on Facebook: ‘There was a thud on takeoff from the left engine and heavy vibrations it was obvious something had happened.
‘3 blades are bent in the engine we are having to change planes.’
But despite the delay, which saw passengers eventually transferring to another plane, Eric says he was offered a paltry £10 compensation by Thomson.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Thomson Airways told The Mirror: ‘The aircraft has diverted to London Gatwick as a precautionary measure following a suspected bird strike.
‘The plane landed safely and we are working to make sure that customers will be on their way to Tenerife as soon as possible.
‘The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to reassure customers that issues of this nature are very rare.’