The EasyJet plane forced to suddenly return to Liverpool Airport was only the latest to fall victim to a collision with another flying object a fraction of its size – a bird.
EasyJet flight EZY7023 was forced to turn around mid-air after it was struck by a bird.
Such incidents are far from rare – in 2016, the ECHO reported on an EasyJet flight to Malaga that had to divert after “the left hand engine ingested a bird”.
And as recently as 2019, emergency services including the coastguard were put on standby after a suspected bird strike forced a Ryanair flight from Liverpool to Cyprus to turn back.
According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association website, a bird strike is a "real and not uncommon danger", with nine in 10 incidents happening near airports during take off or landing.
But it added: "The majority of them go unreported and result in little or no damage to the aircraft, although for the bird, it’s a different story."
While a bird is hardly a match for a plane in terms of size, a collision between the two can cause serious damage if the bird hits the aircraft's jet engine.
If a bird strikes a fan blade, it can have a knock-on effect meaning that other fan blades stop rotating as usual.
EasyJet flight EZY7023 left the airport at 1.05pm on Friday afternoon and was travelling to Jersey.
But the plane was forced to turn around mid-air and make a sudden diversion minutes later, after it was struck by a bird.
Emergency services were put on standby at the airport at around 1.20pm, as fire crews prepared for a "potential emergency landing."
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One man said the plane circled over New Brighton as it made a diversion back to the airport.
An EasyJet spokesperson said: "EasyJet flight EZY7023 from Liverpool to Jersey returned from airborne following a bird strike.
"The captain performed a routine landing in accordance with standard operating procedures. We have arranged a replacement aircraft to operate the flight to Jersey.
“Whilst this is outside of EasyJet’s control, we apologise for any inconvenience experienced and thank passengers for their patience and understanding.
“The safety of passengers and crew is EasyJet's highest priority.”