The damage to a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter after a crane flew into its windshield. (Photo credit U.S. Air Combat Command.)

TOP 5: Deadliest bird-strike aviation disasters in history

737 forced to make emergency landing after hitting flock of birds in Abbotsford on Sept. 10.

The Wright brothers were the first men to fly a fixed-wing airplane in 1903. Only two years later, Orville Wright would become the first man to have his plane collide mid-flight with a bird.

Today, over a century later, planes are still at risk of being downed by their feathered counterparts in the sky.

On Sept. 10, a Boeing 737 leaving Abbotsford International Airport was forced to make an emergency landing after colliding with a flock of birds shortly after take off. The pilots were able to land the plane safely without further incident.

RELATED: Passenger jet makes emergency landing in Abbotsford after hitting birds

They were lucky. The pilots were able to land the plane safely without further incident.

While incidents of bird-strikes are rare, they’re not as rare as one would hope.

The damage to an F-16 canopy after a bird-strike. (U.S. Air Force Command photo.)

Most would not assume a 2 kg pigeon could do much damage to a plane weighing over 40,000 kg, but birds pose serious risks to aircraft of all types – and the record shows it.

The most frequent time collisions occur are during a plane’s takeoff due to the birds flying at a lower altitude.

Around 90 per cent of these incidents happen around airports, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration estimates U.S. aviation suffers $400 million in damage annually from bird-strikes and over 200 deaths since 1988 can be attributed to them.

Below is a list of the top five deadly bird-strike incidents:

5) Louisiana, 2009. A red-tailed hawk blasted through the windscreen of a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. The impact of the bird shattered the windscreen, activated the engine fire suppression controls, delaying the helicopter’s throttles and forcing the engines to lose power. The subsequent crash left eight out of nine passengers dead.

4) Paris, 1995. During its takeoff, a Dassault Falcon 20 sucked in multiple lapwings through its engines which severed its fuel lines, causing one of its engines to fail. A fire ignited near the rear of the cabin and the pilots lost control while attempting to make an emergency landing. All 10 passengers were killed.

3) Alaska, 1995. A U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry ingested multiple Canadian Geese into both of its engines on the same wing during takeoff. The engines started to dump fuel and lost power which caused the plane to lose altitude. The plane crashed into a wooded area and exploded killing all 24 crew members.

2) Bahir Dar, 1988. A flock of speckled pigeons were pulled into the engines of a Boeing 737 passenger airplane as it took off from the runway. One of its engines lost thrust instantly. The other engine failed shortly after during an emergency landing. The 737 crash landed and caught fire, killing 35 of 98 passengers.

1) Boston, 1960. A Lockheed L-188 Electra flew through a large flock of 120 starlings shortly after takeoff causing all four engine to fail before it crashed into Boston harbour. The time from the takeoff to hitting the water was under a minute. Sixty-two out of the 72 passengers died in the greatest loss of life from a bird-strike on record.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Slideshow: Hope’s winter weather in photos

Readers submit photos of Hope under a blanket of snow

RCMP looking for tips in rash of crime in Hope

Theives broke into homes and cars in the Kawkawa Lake area

Fraser Cascade superintendent announces retirement

Dr. Karen Nelson has worked for School District 78 for 29 years

FVRD seeking outdoor rec feedback

Open house meetings slated for next week

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

VIDEO: Highway 1 left looking like winter war zone with dozens of stranded vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Fraser Valley motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Most Read