It would arguably catch even the most prepared air ambulance crew off-guard.
Last September, at an airport in Connecticut, an air ambulance jet on its way out of the country collided with a wild deer on the runway just as it was about to take off. The deer was killed; no one on board the air ambulance was hurt.
As one might expect given the circumstances, a law suit may now be in the works.
The deer apparently gained access to the airport through an unfenced section that passes through water. The trespassing animal, oblivious to the danger, wandered onto the runway where it was met by a Lear jet with a patient on board.
The ambulance had been taking off on an international transport to get the patient back home. It hadn’t yet left the ground at the time of the collision.
The small Lear jet 36 was damaged extensively in the collision with the deer — so much so that the airplane, following its repairs, is now “made up of two airplanes,” in the words of the owner.
The Lear 36 (example pictured above) is a small commuter jet often used by private/charter aircraft operators in a fixed-wing air ambulance role.
You can guess just how much the repair bills, lost flight time, and depreciated value of the aircraft may have cost the owner.
A lawyer hired by the owner of the air ambulance says they are now planning to sue the city, according to the New Haven Register.
The argument appears to be that if the city is going to operate the airport, they are responsible for keeping it safe to use as an airport.
The unfenced section of the airport runs through protected wetlands, making it naturally difficult for a person to trespass onto the runway, but not as difficult for certain wildlife to make their way in. Deer, in particular, are strong swimmers and apparently are quite capable of making their way onto the property.
Due to the protected status of the submerged, unfenced area, it may or may not be a long, bureaucratic, but ultimately necessary process for the airport to set up a fence to keep wildlife out in the future. The FAA is currently working with airport officials to close off the remaining open sections.
What do you think about this unusual incident? Have you experienced a similar incident involving wildlife on the runway or in the air? Let us know your comments below.