News Plane incidents — 20 October 2017

A VIRGIN flight was forced to make an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport this morning after the plane struck a bird not long after takeoff.

Flight VA319 had just began its journey to Brisbane after 9am Friday when the pilot reported difficulties with the plane’s engine which forced a quick return to Melbourne.

“Upon suspecting a bird strike, the pilot decided to return to Melbourne … and the aircraft landed safely,” Virgin Australia said in a statement.

“We are working to have all affected passengers on their way to Brisbane as soon as possible.”

The plane safely touched down at the airport shortly before 10am, with emergency services rushed to the airport.

A Melbourne Airport spokeswoman said the plane had struck a bird during takeoff using the airport’s east west runway.

“The aircraft returned to the airport and landed safely at 9.45am,” she said.

“Passengers disembarked shortly after 10am and as part of our standard operating procedures our east west runway was immediately closed.

“The aircraft landed on the north south runway and our team conducted an extensive inspection of the runway to check for any debris from the incident and ensure the runway was clear of debris before it reopened.”

Passengers on other flights reported minor delays to their flights while the runway was closed but all flights are believed to be back on schedule.

A Virgin Australia spokesman said the airline was working to organise new travel arrangements for passengers on the grounded plane.

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