iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, March 23, 2014
Even as search continues for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet (MH370) another aircraft belonging to the same carrier escaped a major disaster in Kathmandu on Friday night.
The aircraft (MH-114) on way from Kuala Lumpur to Kathmandu with 180 passengers on board was hit by a flock of ducks as it attempted to land on the runway of Tribhuwan International Airport at 10:45 pm.

The impact shattered the Boeing 738’s two right windshields but the pilots managed to land safely without injury to any passenger or crew. But they didn’t report the incident to airport officials.

The matter came to light when the crew of a Jet Airways flight, which landed minutes after the Malaysian Airlines plane, told air traffic controllers about sighting broken glass pieces on the runway.

“Due to the incident, the return flight of the aircraft was postponed. It flew on Saturday evening after the broken windshields were replaced with new ones,” said a duty officer at TIA official on condition of anonymity. 

On inspection TIA officials found 10 dead ducks as well as broken glass. Operations resumed after 30 minutes once the runway was cleared. But two more dead ducks were found on the runway on Saturday morning.

Officials believe the flock of ducks might have come from Taudaha, a lake located south of Kathmandu, which is frequented by migratory birds.

According to a news report, ATC officials have recommended action against pilots of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft for failing to report the incident, which could have created problems for other flights.

Over 75 bird hits have been reported at TIA since 1990. In 2012, 19 people were killed when a Dornier aircraft belonging to Sita Air crashed minutes after takeoff due to a bird hit.

Earlier this month, 182 passengers and crew on board an IndiGo Airbus A320 had a lucky escape when a wheel of the plane on way from Delhi to Kathmandu caught fire moments after landing at TIA.