Monday, July 31, 2017

Incident occurred July 28, 2017 at Deadhorse Airport (PASC), North Slope Borough, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska 

Aircraft on landing, struck a caribou.

Date: 28-JUL-17
Time: 18:41:00Z
Regis#: CON271
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: B737
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: OTHER
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Aircraft Operator: CONOCO PHILLIPS
Flight Number: CON271

A straggling caribou was decapitated at the Deadhorse airport on Friday by an aircraft co-operated by ConocoPhillips and British Petroleum, when it came in for a landing on Friday.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, who first reported on the incident in Alaska, as the aircraft was coming in for a landing at the remote North Slope airport, the flight crew on the aircraft spotted the caribou on the strip and and immediately initiated an abort of the landing. But, that abort came too late for the caribou, and it was hit by the landing gear, killing it instantly.

Following the fatal strike, the aircraft performed a low flyby so that the crew on the ground could observe the landing gear for any damage. While the caribou was decapitated, the landing gear suffered no visible damage, the caribou was cleared from the runway, and the aircraft was able to land successfully without incident.

The caribou on the strip was one of many that have crossed the  airstrip in recent days while migrating. Thousands of caribou were shooed off of the runway last week by airport workers. This lone creature was probably a straggler from that group. 

No one aboard the Boeing 737, or crew on the ground were injured in the incident.

A plane trying to land at Deadhorse Airport on Alaska's North Slope hit and killed a caribou with its landing gear on Friday.

The Shared Services Boeing 737, operated by ConocoPhillips and jointly owned with BP, aborted its landing around 11:05 a.m. at the airport after the flight crew saw a caribou on the runway, ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said in an email.

"During the abort procedure, the caribou was struck by the landing gear, and perished," she said. "The pilot saw the caribou prior to landing and initiated a go-around, but not in time to avoid contact with the caribou."

After the plane hit the animal, the flight crew "conducted a subsequent low pass over the airport so maintenance personnel on the ground could make a preliminary damage assessment prior to landing," Lowman said.

The plane then landed at the Deadhorse Airport "without further incident," she said. No damage to the plane was identified and it is back in service.

Deadhorse Airport operations workers removed the caribou carcass and conducted a runway inspection, Lowman said. No passengers, flight crew or ground crew were injured, she said.

Scott Austin, foreman at the Deadhorse Airport, said the caribou ran out onto the runway as the plane was on its final approach and was decapitated by the aircraft. If the airport crew had seen it before, he said, someone would have notified the flight crew.

Last week, a herd of about 4,000 caribou passed through and ended up on parts of the runway, Austin said. It took airport workers nearly half an hour to herd them all off, he said, and this one was likely a straggler.

"You get stragglers all the time," he said. "Once they start coming through, migrating, we'll have them for weeks."

Shared Services flights transport oil field workers to and from the Slope. Lowman said 100 passengers and five crew members were on the plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email that he did not have additional details about the incident.

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