There have been 54 incidents of animals being “ingested” by plane engines since Jan. 1 of this year, The Irish Post reported, citing data from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA).
“Bird strikes” accounted for 43 of those cases, while 11 hares living in the grassy areas near the runways accounted for the rest, according to the DAA.
Hare obstructions reportedly were considered even more dangerous than bird strikes since the remains of the fluffy animals could spread over a large area of the engine. The splatter then could attract flocks of birds, causing further problems, according to the Post’s reporting.
Airport officials said they’ve taken measures to uphold high safety standards and prevent aviation risks. They’ve managed the nearby wildlife through a catch-and-release program and, when necessary, by shooting the animals, according to reports.
When a surge of strikes would occur in quick succession, the airport authority would carry out “controlled shoots” to reduce the animal population, Dublin Live reported. While 55 hares were culled in 2018, no shoots have taken place so far this year.
Since January, crews have relocated 44 hares to a safer area so far, under the supervision of a consultant approved by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, according to the Post.
The number of animal strikes so far this year has been cut almost in half from the 102 recorded in 2018, local media reported.
A well-known bird strike occurred in the U.S. in January 2009, when a plane leaving New York’s LaGuardia Airport collided with a flock of geese that caused both its engines to stop. Unable to return to the airport, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed the plane on the Hudson River in what has been dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.”