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Plane was about to take off from Durham Tees Valley when it was hit by a bird
EMERGENCY services were scrambled after a plane overshot the end of the runway at one of the region’s airports after it was hit by a bird.
The pilot and two crew on the Dassault Falcon 20 business jet escaped unharmed from the incident at Durham Tees Valley Airport, near Darlington, which happened at about 11am yesterday.
The plane, which can seat up to 14 people, was up to full speed on the tarmac and was about to lift off when the bird hit, causing the pilot to abort the procedure.
It overran the runway by about 100ft, coming to rest on a grassed area.
Police and fire services rushed to the scene after receiving a full-alert call, but were stood down shortly afterwards when it was found not to be serious.
An investigation has been launched by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the Civil Aviation Authority.
A spokesman for Cobham Aviation Services, which operates the plane from a base at the airport, said: “An aircraft operated by Cobham Aviation Services was involved in an incident at Durham Tees Valley Airport today.
“A bird strike was reported, resulting in an aborted takeoff and the aircraft over-ran the end of the runway.
“The three crew on board were uninjured and the aircraft has sustained some damage.
“Cobham Aviation Services has launched an internal investigation into the incident and are fully co-operating with the airport and with the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which will also conduct an investigation.”
Bird strikes are a frequent cause of air accidents and are particularly dangerous if the bird is sucked into a jet’s engine.
A spokesman for Durham Tees Valley said the airport continued to operate as normal.
Inspector Neil Bickford, of Darlington police, said: “Just before the moment of take-off, a bird flew into the plane so the captain decided to abort the take-off, but it was travelling at quite some speed.
“It went across the gravel at the end of the runway and came to rest on a grassed area about 100ft beyond the end of the runway.”