Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Bird-hit jet in emergency landing

Several passengers and crew suffered minor injuries in the landing

Rome's Ciampino airport has been closed to flights after a Ryanair plane from Frankfurt suffered "substantial damage" as it made an emergency landing.

The budget airline said the plane had experienced problems after birds were sucked into the engine as it came in to land at Rome's second-largest airport.

Passengers left the Boeing 737 using emergency chutes.

The plane remains on the runway with one engine resting on the tarmac because of damage to the landing gear.

It is being examined by Ryanair engineers and the Italian Aviation Authority.

People were crying, it was terrible, it was a bad experience
Ryanair passenger

Ryanair said the airport, which hosts several budget airlines, was likely to remain closed for the rest of Monday.

Ryanair flight FR4102 from Frankfurt to Rome had 166 passengers on board.

Reports say two cabin crew and at least three passengers were taken to hospital with minor injuries. One passenger said an engine had begun to smoke as the plane was coming in to land and it then descended rapidly.

Passengers describe the emergency Ryanair landing in Rome

"People were crying, it was terrible," he added.

Another passenger said he thanked God that nobody had died.

A picture of the plane on the Ryanair website appeared to show red marks on the nose cone and wings - presumably from the birds.

Other Ryanair flights would be diverted to Rome's other airport, Fiumicino, until Ciampino was re-opened, the airline said.

At least 219 people have been killed worldwide since 1988 as a result of wildlife strikes to aircraft, according to the organisation Bird Strike Committee USA.

A US Federal Aviation Administration study has found that between 1990 and 2007, more than 82,000 wildlife strikes were reported at more than 1600 American airports.

The phenomenon causes billions of dollars of damage to aircraft worldwide.

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