An Airbus A320 made an emergency landing at Palma de Mallorca Airport with the giant bird of prey embedded in the nose of the aircraft.
A Lufthansa flight from Munich Airport (MUC) to Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) struck a giant carrion bird moments before landing. The serious bird strike reportedly occurred while the Airbus A320 was just 5,000 feet above the runway. After declaring an emergency, the flight was able to land safely, but damage from the encounter required the aircraft to be taken out of service.
Local media published photographs of the plane on the ground at PMI showing the bird with a wingspan of approximately nine feet still crushed into the dented nose of the aircraft. The captain is said to have been unable to avoid the midair collision with the massive vulture. The damage to the aircraft was described as severe but did not cause a loss of pressurization or control allowing the flight to land without serious incident.
With the plane and its passengers safely on the ground, attention turned to the unfortunate loss of the protected scavenging bird of prey species. Members of the vulture conservancy group, the Voltor Negre Foundation, termed the incident as “regrettable” and told The Daily Mail that a risk of similar incidents in the near future remains as younger birds are leaving the nest and “testing their wings.”
Lufthansa officials told reporters that although the bird strike did not cause serious incident or injury, the plane needed to be taken out of service while maintenance workers repaired the mangled nose. “Due to the damage, the aircraft needed to remain on Thursday in Palma and was been checked by our technicians,” the airline said in a statement. “The return flight had to be canceled and passengers have been rebooked on alternative services.”