Emirates 777 Suffers Multiple Bird Strikes with Flamingos in Mumbai

Riik@mctr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A recent incident at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai has highlighted the importance of bird strike mitigation and wildlife protection near airports.

On 20 May 2024, Emirates flight EK508 arriving from Dubai collided with a flock of flamingos during its landing approach.

The impact with the flock resulted in the deaths of at least 36-40 flamingos. Their bodies were found scattered around the Laxmi Nagar area of Ghatkopar, Mumbai. The area in question falls outside the airport boundaries.

The Forest Department is currently conducting post-mortem examinations and also continuing to search the impact area.

Emirates EK508 Dubai-Mumbai

The inbound Emirates flight, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, was able to land safely at the airport despite sustaining some damage.

The full extent of the damage has not yet been officially confirmed. The aircraft involved is a 9-year old widebody aircraft registered A6-ENT belonging to the carrier Emirates.

The return flight to Dubai was subsequently cancelled to permit a thorough inspection of the aircraft. Passengers were accommodated by the airline as per standard procedures.

Cause of the Collision Under Investigation

The cause of the flamingo strike remains under investigation. However, there have been concerns raised about ongoing construction projects near the Mumbai wetlands. It was speculated that this may be disturbing the birds’ habitat and flight patterns.

The Thane Creek Wildlife Sanctuary which incorporates the flamingo reserve attracts thousands of migratory birds for nesting.

At 65 square kilometres in size, the area is amongst the largest wildlife sanctuaries in Asia.

This incident has sparked discussions about the need for stricter wildlife protection measures in the vicinity of the airport.

Riik@mctr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Protecting Mumbai’s Unique Ecosystem

Mumbai is a major metropolis, but it also boasts a unique ecosystem that includes these large wading birds.

Flamingos are a seasonal attraction in Mumbai, particularly between December and May. Finding ways to ensure the safety of both air travel and wildlife is crucial.

This incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between urban development and environmental responsibility.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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