A pelican grounded a plane at the Rockhampton Airport today.
A pelican grounded a plane at the Rockhampton Airport today. Alistair Brightman

Pilot forced to land at Rocky Airport after pelican struck plane

A PILOT had no choice but to land a plane not long after take off today when a pelican struck the aircraft's wing.

Rockhampton Region Council Airport Committee chair Neil Fisher said the large bird was flying unusually high at 1200ft when it hit.

"Unfortunately, a QFLink aircraft has struck a Pelican at 1200ft this afternoon," Cr Fisher said.

"The pilot of the plane, which had not long taken off, returned and landed the aircraft back at Rockhampton Airport.

"Pelicans have really big wing spans and 1200ft is particularly high for a bird.

"On hot days, using the thermals, these big, slow-moving birds can climb to these sorts of heights.

"There was not much the pilot could do.

"The bird struck the wing of the plane, well away from the actual airport itself.

Engineers are being flown up from Brisbane to check the plane over.

No passengers were injured, and after de-boarding, were reaccommodated onto other flights.



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