Shetland to Glasgow Loganair flight in bird-strike drama

A flight carrying 40 passengers and three crew was forced to return to Sumburgh Airport in Shetland after being hit by birds at 1,500ft.

One of the Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft in Loganairs fleet. Picture: Contributed
One of the Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft in Loganairs fleet. Picture: Contributed

Loganair flight LM438 was en-route to Glasgow when the incident happened on Friday shortly after take-off.

Passengers reported seeing flames and onboard crew received an alert about the aircraft’s left-hand engine.

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Loganair said the Saab 2000 landed safely and aid from standby emergency vehicles was not required.

The affected plane has been removed from service for further tests to be carried out.

Passengers on board the flight reported hearing a bang and smelling fuel moments after the aircraft left the runway.

Mia Sutherland, 15, who was travelling with her parents, told the BBC she saw flames on the outside of the plane.

She said: “Just when we were levelling out there was a bang followed by a short outburst of flames and then a horrible fuelly smell came into where the passengers were.

“Everyone was panicking and going ‘what was that?’ Everyone was looking out windows and probably about 10 or 15 minutes later the pilot came on and said that we were going back to Sumburgh because of a technical fault and then, when we got back, they said they had hit a bird.”

The incident resulted in passengers being unable to continue their journey to Glasgow on Friday evening because the airport was closed overnight. They were instead offered overnight accommodation.

A spokesman said customers were able to resume their journey yesterday and left on another aircraft at about 9am.

He added: “Safety is always our first priority, and as always, our pilots responded immediately and appropriately to the warning that they received on the flight deck following the bird strike – an eventuality for which every pilot is extensively trained.

“The aircraft made a normal landing back at Sumburgh and our customers were able to disembark as they normally would.”