The Kathmandu Post
Nepals National Newspaper
Vol. IV No. 234 Thursday, October 10, 1996
Thai jet survives major mishap
By a Post Reporter
KATHMANDU, Oct 9 A Thai Airways jet carrying 228 passengers and crew narrowly escaped a major mishap when it slammed into a group of vultures while preparing to take off from Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Wednesday.
Flight TG-312 bound for Bangkok was already speeding on the runway for takeoff when a group of vultures struck the Airbus A-300-600 jet, eyewitnesses said.
No injuries were reported in the accident though five dead vultures were recovered from the site of impact, airport authorities said.
The Thai jet was lightly damaged by the force of the impact. Officials said the jets engine fan blades were damaged and the area just above the pilots cockpit window was stained with blood.
Though none of the passengers and crew were hurt in the mishap, the incident illustrates the serious bird hazard at TIA, the nations only international airport.
TIA general manager Hari Bhakta Shrestha told The Kathmandu Post that bird hazards are a constant threat at this time of year because the vultures flock to the airport grounds to feed on TIAs abundant supply of earthworms.
The worms come out of the ground and die on the runway. This attracts the birds, he said. We do try to keep the birds away but it is practically impossible to shoo all of them away from the airport area. Besides, the proximity of garbage dumping sites also attract the birds to the runway.
Wednesdays bird-hit could have been avoided if the TIA control tower had heeded the advice of an Indian Airlines pilot who was next in line for take-off.
Twenty minutes after the Thai jet returned to land, Indian Airlines flight IC 814 took off.
The following communication exchange between the IA pilot and tower could be heard over FM radio as it cleared the valley airspace:
IA pilot: You should do something to improve flight safety here.
Tower: Thank you, your suggestion has been noted
IA pilot: But you shouldnt have allowed the (Thai) aircraft to take off. I had warned you there were birds there. You shouldnt have allowed the plane to take off.
Tower: It will be better if you notify the Department of Civil Aviation. Anyway your complaint has been noted.
IA pilot: Dont you have cartridges (blank gun cartridges to scare the birds away) here? I will send some from India if you dont have it.