Bird attack on SriLankan flight to Mattala

( March 17, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) A test flight of SriLankan Airlines from Colombo to Mattala on the 14th has come under attack by birds near the Mattala airport. The flight had been surrounded by massive group of birds, but the senior, experienced pilot, Keminda Yahampath had managed to land the flight amidst difficulty. Had the flight been flown by a young pilot, the aircraft would have crash landed at the Mattala airport. A large number of birds had died after knocking on the front windscreen of the aircraft.

The Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala has been constructed in a bird and wildlife sanctuary and is faced with many difficulties as a result. A person was killed by a wild elephant near the fourth mile post on the road to the Mattala airport on the 13th.

An elephant fence is now being set up around the airport areas at a massive additional cost.

People in the area say that the animals have been badly affected by the sudden change to their environment and are responding in different ways. People add the government has taken measures to hunt down animals and are now in the process of gradually destroying the sanctuary.

The initial report on the airport had discussed at length of the possible environment impact, but the authorities had ignored all concerns raised.

The government authorities are hiding the fact that the airport had not yet received the international certification on security standards.