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Fire shoots from Ryanair jet's engine on flight from London after hitting a flock of HERONS

This is the shocking moment a Ryanair jet hit a flock of herons as it came in to land in Bologna, Italy, setting fire to one of its engines and covering the plane in blood and feathers.

The Ryanair flight departed from London Stansted on November 24 and was approaching the runway at Bologna's Marconi Airport around 11:30pm when it slammed into an unsuspecting flock of herons. 

Some of the birds smashed into the plane's windscreen, spattering blood and mangled feathers across the nose of the aircraft and obscuring the pilot's vision, while others were sucked into its right engine.

The engine was severely damaged, sending flames shooting out from underneath the right wing, but miraculously the pilots managed to bring the plane into land safely and no one aboard was injured. 

The windshield of the plane was plastered in blood and matted feathers after the Ryanair Boeing 737-800, on a flight from London Stansted to Bologna, Italy, crashed into a flock of herons as it came into land on November 24

Several of the birds were sucked into the right engine of the aircraft, causing it to fail and blast flames out from under the wing

Flames can be seen spurting from the back of the right engine as the plane comes in to land

Some of the birds' carcasses were plucked off of the plane after it had come into land, but feathers were plastered all across the plane's fuselage

The plane was a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 operating flight FR1194 from London Stansted to Bologna, according to local media reports.

Bologna is located in Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, which is known for its lagoons, rivers and rich wetlands that play host to a diverse range of wildlife - the population of which was unfortunately reduced following Wednesday's incident.

An inspection of the plane on the tarmac following the shocking event revealed that the flock of herons had not only been sucked into the right engine - severely damaging it - but that some birds had also hit the left engine. 

Airport staff plucked the poor birds from in between the blades of the engine turbine and carted them away

The pilots miraculously managed to land the plane safely and no passengers were hurt, despite both engines being hit - with the right engine completely destroyed

It was only thanks to the heroic efforts of the pilots, whose view of the airport and the rapidly oncoming runway was severely obstructed by the mix of bird tissue and mangled feathers coating the plane's windscreen, that the plane was landed safely and no passengers were hurt.

Images taken of the plane after it had come to a stop on the runway showed remnants of the birds clogging up the engine turbines, with feathers and bird carcasses plastered across the aircraft's fuselage.

Airport staff gingerly removed the carcasses from the plane, plucking the mangled birds from in between the turbine blades and stripping away the detritus from door handles, wing flaps and windscreen.

Images showed the remnants of the birds plastered across the plane's fuselage and stuck in door handles and wing flaps

Bird strikes on aircraft are surprisingly common, and although 65 per cent of strikes do not result cause severe damage to the aircraft according to a UK study, they are considered a considerable risk to flight safety - and are almost always lethal for the animals involved.

According to the US' Federal Aviation Authority, which keeps track of every reported strike in the United States, there were a total of 16,000 wildlife strikes in 2018 - this roughly works out to a shocking 40 incidents per day. 

Many airports around the world have taken to removing ponds and grasslands in the airport's close proximity and replacing them with gravel or tarmac in an attempt to prevent wildlife-related incidents, but in areas such as Emilia-Romagna which are heavily populated with wildlife in the surrounding wild landscape, the danger is ever-present. 

However, the risk to human life posed by bird strikes is very low. According to the International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC), it is estimated that there is only one bird strike accident resulting in human deaths in one billion flying hours.