Significant bird strike events

The following is a selected list of significant bird strikes to civil and military aircraft. All fatal and hull loss events involving large commercial jet aircraft are included. Fatal and serious damage events involving small general aviation aircraft are excluded.

Types of events 
Large Commercial Jets
Other Commercial Aircraft
Large Military Aircraft


Large Commercial Jets

  • 25 July 1990; Ethiopian Airlines 707-300; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: During takeoff, the crew spotted birds on the runway prior to takeoff decision speed but chose to continue the takeoff. The aircraft ingested one or more pigeons into at least two engines. The crew rejected the takeoff, but were unable to stop on the runway. The aircraft struck light towers and was destroyed by a subsequent fire. One of the four crew on this cargo flight was seriously injured.

  • 15 September 1988; Ethiopian Airlines 737-200; Bahar Dar, Ethiopia: During takeoff, the aircraft ingested numerous pigeons into both engines. One engine lost thrust almost immediately and the second lost thrust during the emergency return to the airport. As a result of the crash landing, 31 of the 105 passengers were killed.

  • 29 September 1986; Indian Airlines A300; Madras, India: At about rotation speed during takeoff, the aircraft ingested at least one bird into the right engine. The engine lost thrust and although the aircraft was capable of continuing the takeoff, the crew decided to reject the takeoff and overran the runway. The aircraft was declared a hull loss. None of the 185 passengers and 17 crew were seriously injured.

  • 4 April 1978; Sabena 737-200; Gosselies, Belgium: During a touch and go landing during a training flight, the aircraft struck a flock of pigeons. At least one was ingested into engine one, which caused some loss of engine thrust. Although the aircraft had enough power to continue the takeoff, one crew member initiated a rejected takeoff while the other crew member attempted to continue the takeoff. The aircraft overran the runway and was destroyed by a post crash fire. The three crew members were not seriously injured.

  • 12 November 1975; Overseas National Airways DC10-30; JFK Airport, New York: During the takeoff roll, the aircraft struck seagulls and the takeoff was rejected. The right engine had an uncontained failure and the aircraft overran the runway. The aircraft was destroyed by a subsequent fire, but none of the 128 passengers and 11 crew were seriously injured.

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Other Commercial Aircraft

  • 20 January 1995; Dassault Falcon 20; Le Bourget Airport, Paris: Just after rotation, the aircraft struck at least 15 Lapwings. The left engine ingested more than one bird and had an uncontained failure, but the pilot was able to continue the takeoff. However, the aircraft caught fire and crashed while the pilot was attempting a return to the airport.

  • 25 January 1992; Cessna 401; Maasi-Mara, Kenya: While in cruise, the aircraft struck a bird suspected to be a Marabou stork weighing about 13 pounds (5.9 kilos). The impact caused separation of a wing tip fuel tank and aileron. All seven passengers and crew were killed.

  • 26 December 1991; Piper PA31; Maasi-Mara, Kenya: A 12 pound (5.4 kilo) White headed vulture struck the aircraft and penetrated the windshield at about 250 feet (155 meters). The aircraft lost control and crashed, killing all nine passengers and crew.

  • 7 April 1981; Lear 23; Cincinnati, OH: At 4000 feet, a loon estimated at 8 pounds (3.7 kilos) penetrated the right windscreen, killing the copilot and injuring the pilot. Engine two and the hydraulic and brake systems were also lost.

  • 20 November 1975; HS125 Viper; Dusfold, UK: The aircraft ingested Lapwings into both engines during initial climb. The aircraft lost power and crashed and caught fire just past the end of the runway. The nine aircraft occupants escaped, but six occupants in a car hit by the aircraft were killed.

  • 26 March 1973; Lear 24; Atlanta, GA: Both engines ingested multiple Cowbirds just after takeoff. With about 14 striking the left engine and at least five striking the right engine. The aircraft crashed, killing all seven passengers and crew and injuring one person on the ground.

  • 23 November 1962; Viscount; Maryland, USA: At night, at 6000 feet (1860 meters), the aircraft struck a flock of Whistling swans. One, estimated to be 13 pounds (6 kilos) penetrated the tailplane leading edge, weakening the structure, and causing the tailplane to detach. The aircraft crashed, killing all 17 passengers and crew.

  • 15 July 1962; DC3; Lahore, Pakistan: The copilot was killed after a vulture penetrated the windshield during cruise. The other two occupants survived.

  • 4 October 1960; Electra 188; Boston, MA: Shortly after becoming airborne, the aircraft ingested starlings into three of its four engines. Engine one was shut down and engines two and four lost power. The aircraft stalled and crashed into Boston Harbor, killing 62 of the 72 passengers and crew. This is the greatest loss of life due to a bird strike.

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Large Military Aircraft

  • 15 July 1996; Belgian Air Force Lockheed C-130; Eindhoven, Netherlands: The aircraft struck a flock of birds during approach and crashed short of the runway. All four crew members and 30 of the 37 passengers were killed.

  • 14 July 1996; NATO E-3 AWACS; Aktion, Greece: The aircraft struck a flock of birds during takeoff. The crew aborted the takeoff and the aircraft overran the runway. The aircraft was not repaired, but none of the crew was seriously injured.

  • 22 September 1995; U.S. Air Force E-3 AWACS; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska: During takeoff as the aircraft was passing rotation speed, the aircraft struck about three dozen geese, ingesting at least three into engine two and at least one into engine one. The aircraft was unable to maintain controlled flight and crashed in a forest about 1 mile (1.6 km) beyond the runway. All 24 occupants were killed.

  • September 1987; U.S. Air Force B1-B; Colorado, USA: Aircraft lost control and crashed after a large bird struck the wing root area and damage a hydraulic system. The aircraft was on a low level, high speed training mission. Only three of the six occupants were able to successfully bail out. .

  • 1980; Royal Air Force Nimrod; Kinloss Scotland: Aircraft lost control and crashed after ingesting a number of birds into multiple engines.

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Overview of the Bird Hazard Threat to Aircraft
http://www.airsafe.com/birds/signif.htm -- Revised 10 November 2015