A PASSENGER plane crashed during landing and skidded off the runway after it hit a herd of wild boars.
The SpiceJet plane carrying 49 passengers and four crew members hit the boars on the runway at Dumna airport at Jabalpur, India, last night. The incident happened at 7.25pm local time.
The pilot had to apply emergency brakes that led to the aircraft skidding off the tarmac.
The Hindustan Times reported about seven boars were killed and the aircraft was grounded with damage to the its left landing gear and undercarriage.
Sources said the Mumbai-Jabalpur flight was on the "landing roll" when around 30-40 boars wandered on to the runway.
"The pilot lost control of the aircraft causing the aircraft to swing off the runway...none of the passengers or crew suffered injuries," a SpiceJet official said.
"The skilful and experienced hands of the captain helped to avert a major disaster by diverting the aircraft towards the left of the runway to moderate the impact of the event," an airline spokesperson added.
"No pilot is trained to land on runways infested with animals and Jabalpur airport has a chronic history," another official said.
SpiceJet later issued a statement explaining how the pilot managed to avert a major accident.
"The skilful and experienced hands of captain Amartya Basu, who has more than 10,00 hours of flying experience, today helped avert a major disaster by diverting the aircraft towards the left of the runway to moderate the impact of the event.
"Damage to the aircraft is still being assessed, however all 49 passengers and four crew members are safe."
The company also tweeted: "SpiceJet Q-400, flight SG 2458,Mumbai to Jabalpur upon landing, hit a herd of wild boars that had strayed into the runway.
Aircraft left the runway to the left. Damage to the aircraft is being assessed. All 49 passengers and 4 crew members are safe."