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Business News/ Companies / News/  Emirates flight strikes flock of flamingos in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, kills 40; sparks wildlife protection concerns
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Emirates flight strikes flock of flamingos in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, kills 40; sparks wildlife protection concerns

Emirates flight EK 508 from Dubai to Mumbai landed safely at Mumbai airport despite damages. Airport authorities confirmed the bird strike; the Mangrove Protection Cell officers said they were searching the area to determine if more birds were affected.

Emirates flight EK 508 landed safely after striking a flock of flamingos in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, causing the deaths of at least 36 birds.Premium
Emirates flight EK 508 landed safely after striking a flock of flamingos in Mumbai's Ghatkopar, causing the deaths of at least 36 birds.

An Emirates flight flying over the Laxmi Nagar area of Pantnagar in Mumbai's Ghatkopar on Monday night struck a flock of flamingos, resulting in the deaths of at least 40 birds. The Emirates flight EK 508 from Dubai-Mumbai reported a bird hit upon arrival at Mumbai airport at 9.18 pm. Despite the hit, the flight which suffered damages, landed safely, as per the Hindustan Times report.

An airport source confirmed the bird hit to HT, stating that the incident was reported immediately upon the flight's arrival. Additional Chief Conservator of Forests (Mangrove Protection Cell), SY Rama Rao, reported the discovery of 36 flamingo bodies in the area and announced a search to determine if more birds were affected.

“The airport authorities have confirmed to us about the bird strike. This has happened closer to Laxmi Nagar (northern end of Ghatkopar East)," said Deepak Khade, Deputy Conservator of the Mangrove Protection Cell, as quoted by HT.

Confirming the incident, Emirates spokesperson said, “Emirates can confirm that EK508 from Dubai to Mumbai on 20 May was involved in a bird strike incident upon landing. The aircraft landed safely and all passengers and crew disembarked without injury, however sadly a number of flamingos were lost and Emirates is cooperating with the authorities on the matter."

“The aircraft was also damaged in the incident and, as a result, the return flight EK509 scheduled to depart to Dubai on 20 May was cancelled. All passengers and crew were accommodated overnight and a replacement aircraft is being arranged for all passengers, and is scheduled to depart Mumbai on 21 May at 21:00 local time. Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance and will not be compromised," the spokesperson said.

Prashant Bahadure, Range Forest Officer of the Mangrove Protection Cell, added, “I went to the airport, but they didn’t allow me entry. The airport authorities have told us these flamingos were hit by an Emirates flight. We got a call from the local residents, and the incident may have happened between 8:40 pm and 8:50 pm. Our team was on the spot at 9:15 pm," reported HT.

Environmental activist D Stalin from NGO Vanshakti suggested that the new power lines through the sanctuary area might be causing disorientation among the birds, leading to the incident.

“What caused the birds to fly into the aeroplane, etc., are being investigated. My theory is the new power lines through the sanctuary area are causing disorientation to the birds. It should have never been permitted. Alternate routes were many. While giving permissions for power lines (earlier, it was not allowed inside sanctuaries), the wildlife board meekly surrendered to the power company. The Thane Creek Wildlife Sanctuary was bulldozed and towers erected," Stalin was quoted by HT.

Stalin also speculated about a potential indirect connection to the Navi Mumbai airport project. “Wetlands in the NRI complex area and TS Chanakya lakes are home to flamingo flocks. Since last month, efforts have been made to disturb the birds there and get the water bodies to be brought under construction. If someone or some people had chased the birds out at night, the flocks might have attempted to fly towards Thane Creek and, in the process, met with the accident," he said, as per the report.

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Published: 21 May 2024, 12:30 PM IST
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