Fire shoots from Ryanair’s jet engine during a flight from London after hitting a swarm of herons

Fire shoots from Ryanair’s jet engine in flight from London after hitting a swarm of herons as it landed in Italy, leaving the plane covered in blood and feathers

  • A Ryanair flight from London Stansted to Bologna spattered a flock of herons
  • Flight FR1194 hit the birds as it approached the Italian airport on Wednesday
  • Shocking footage shows flames spouting from the right engine of the Boeing 737-800
  • The pilots somehow managed to land the plane safely with one engine damaged
  • Their view was obscured by a mass of blood and matted feathers


This is when a Ryanair jet hit a flock of herons as it landed in Bologna, Italy, setting one of its engines on fire and covering the plane with blood and feathers.

The Ryanair flight took off from London Stansted on Nov. 24 and was approaching the runway at Bologna’s Marconi Airport around 11:30 p.m. when it crashed into the birds.

Some herons slammed into the plane’s windshield, splashing blood and mangled feathers over the plane’s nose, obscuring the pilot’s view, while others were sucked into the right-hand engine.

The engine was badly damaged, causing flames to shoot out from under the right wing. But the pilots managed to land the plane safely and no one on board was injured.

The plane’s windshield was covered in blood and matted feathers after the Ryanair Boeing 737-800, on a flight from London Stansted to Bologna, Italy, crashed into a flock of herons when it landed on Nov. 24

Several birds were sucked into the right engine of the plane, causing it to stall and flames out under the wing

Several birds were sucked into the right engine of the plane, causing it to stall and flames out under the wing

Flames can be seen shooting out the rear of the right engine as the plane lands

Flames can be seen shooting out the rear of the right engine as the plane lands

Some of the bird carcasses were plucked from the plane after it came ashore, but feathers were plastered all over the plane's fuselage

Some of the bird carcasses were plucked from the plane after it came ashore, but feathers were plastered all over the plane’s fuselage

According to local media, the plane was a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 operating flight FR1194 from London Stansted to Bologna.

Bologna is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, which is known for its lagoons, rivers and rich wetlands that play host to a wide variety of wildlife – whose populations have sadly declined following Wednesday’s incident.

An inspection of the plane on the tarmac after the shocking event revealed that not only had the flock of herons been sucked into the right engine – it severely damaged – but some birds had also hit the left engine.

Airport staff plucked the poor birds from between the blades of the engine turbine and carried them away

Airport staff plucked the poor birds from between the blades of the engine turbine and carried them away

The pilots miraculously managed to land the plane safely and no passengers were injured, despite both engines being hit - with the right engine completely destroyed

The pilots miraculously managed to land the plane safely and no passengers were injured, despite both engines being hit – with the right engine completely destroyed

Horrifying footage shows the plane’s windshield covered in a mix of bird tissue and mutilated feathers.

Photos taken of the plane after it came to rest on the runway also showed bird remains clogged the engine turbines, with feathers and bird carcasses plastered over the plane’s fuselage.

Airport staff carefully removed the carcasses from the plane, plucked the mutilated birds from between the turbine blades and cleared the debris from door handles, wing flaps and windshield.

Images showed the remains of the birds plastered over the fuselage of the aircraft and stuck in door handles and wing flaps

Images showed the remains of the birds plastered over the fuselage of the aircraft and stuck in door handles and wing flaps

Bird strikes on aircraft are surprisingly common, and while 65 per cent of strikes do not cause serious damage to the aircraft, according to a UK study, they are considered a significant risk to flight safety – and are almost always fatal to the animals involved.

According to the US Federal Aviation Authority, which tracks every reported strike in the United States, there were a total of 16,000 wildlife attacks in 2018 — roughly a shocking 40 incidents per day.

Many airports around the world have begun removing ponds and grasslands in the vicinity of the airport and replacing them with gravel or asphalt in an effort to prevent wildlife-related incidents, but in areas such as Emilia-Romagna, which are densely populated with wildlife in the surrounding wild landscape the danger is always present.

However, the risk to human life from bird strikes is very low. According to the International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC), there has been only one estimated bird strike accident that killed people in one billion flying hours.

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