Virgin Australia Flight Hits a Bird and a Rabbit — At the Same Time

Oct 21, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

We already know that 1 in 2,000 flights are impacted by a birdstrike, but what would be the odds of a simultaneous bird and rabbit strike? We’re guessing pretty slim. But, that’s reportedly what happened Friday to a Virgin Australia flight.

According to a report from The Aviation Herald — an excellent source for aviation incident and accident news — here’s what happened: Virgin Australia flight 319 departed Melbourne (MEL) for Brisbane (BNE) and was on its initial climb when the aircraft made contact with an object. Due to vibrations in the left hand engine, the flight crew declared “pan-pan” — a step below declaring an emergency — and leveled off at 5,000 feet.

The crew then advised that “an eagle carrying a rabbit had just impacted their #1 engine.”

According to FlightRadar24 flight track, the aircraft was directly over the Lerderderg State Park, which is known for its wedge-tailed eagles, the largest bird of prey in Australia. These eagles — locally referred to as a bunjil or eaglehawk — primarily feed on rabbits and hares, although recent studies show that the bird might prefer eastern grey kangaroos instead.

VA319 bridstrike

The flight crew requested priority landing back in Melbourne (MEL) and the plane landed safely 17 minutes after departure. The flight was subsequently cancelled. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft (registration VH-YFX) hasn’t returned to service in the time since landing.

With all passengers safe, the jokes began to roll in. One AvHerald commenter speculated the “eagle wanted the rabbit minced, but must have miscalculated.” Another commenter suggested the experience was “a hare raising experience for the crew.”

A request for confirmation or comment from Virgin Australia wasn’t immediately returned.

Featured image by Auscape via Getty Images

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.