An Air India aircraft had a narrow escape when it hit a neelgai or Indian blue bull during landing at Kanpur airport on Thursday.
Other than a major dent under the cockpit, there was no damage caused to the plane. Nor was any passenger or crew injured in the mishap, civil aviation officials at Kanpur, about 85 kilometres from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, confirmed.
According to an official at the Chakeri air force base in Kanpur, "the 48-seater aircraft with 47 passengers on board was on its way from Delhi to Allahabad with a stop-over at Kanpur. Just as it touched down at Chakeri airport, a full grown blue bull strayed into its path on the runaway.
"The plane did get out of balance for a while but the pilot managed to control it and bring it to a halt without any harm to the passengers or the crew."
Since the aircraft was not fit to fly again immediately, the Allahabad-bound passengers were taken there by road, while technicians were on the job to put the plane back in shape.
A team of officials from New Delhi rushed to Kanpur to assess the damage to the aircraft.
Police officials in Kanpur told IANS that Chakeri has been facing the blue bull menace for quite some time. "The need for a complete boundary wall around the entire Chakeri airport area has been stressed several times in view of the presence of blue bulls in the neighbourhood, but somehow the task has never been undertaken," said a police official.
In comparison, large enclosures have been built to restrict movement of the animals around New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.