A plane was forced to make an emergency landing after unexpectedly colliding with two animals at the same time – an eagle carrying a rabbit.
Virgin Australia Flight VA-319 was leaving Melbourne for Brisbane when ‘excessive vibration’ was reported in its left engine, prompting the pilot to return to the airport.
As they reported the situation to air traffic controllers, the flight crew recalled how the Boeing 737 began to level out at 5000ft when its engine struck the eagle, which had the rabbit in the claws.
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Thankfully, the 174 passenger strong flight landed safely some 17 minutes after departure, with tracking data showing how the plane performed a tight loop before returning to Melbourne.
Incidents involving animals colliding with plane engines can prove to be extremely dangerous, with US Airways pilot Captain Chesley Sullenberger landing an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson river in 2009 after it was hit by a flock of birds.
His heroics, which saved the lives of 155 people, were later dubbed ‘The Miracle On The Hudson’.