AN AER LINGUS flight to the Costa del Sol was forced to return to Dublin after a hare was sucked into one of the plane’s engines as it took off.
Flight EI-582 had 287 passengers on board as it departed for Malaga.
But soon after take-off the captain contacted air traffic control in the Irish capital to report that they had hit “two rabbits or hares” as they sped down the runway.
And after an inspection revealed a single dead hare on the tarmac, the Airbus A330-300 jet was told to turn around half an hour later as it approached the French coast, amid fears that the second animal’s body had been drawn into an engine.
The cabin crew did not declare an emergency although fire fighters and engineers were standing by as the plane came into land.
A replacement aircraft is set to fly the holidaymakers to Spain later today (Friday).
An Aer Lingus official said: “Flight EI582 departed Dublin Airport this morning, en route to Malaga with 287 guests on board.
“The aircraft turned back less than one hour into the flight, due to a technical issue, and landed safely at Dublin at 9.52am.
“Guests disembarked normally and will be flown to Malaga this afternoon on a replacement aircraft. We apologise to our guests for this disruption to their travel plans.”