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Flights faced disruption at Heathrow Airport today after a fox entered the runway, according to reports. 

Several planes were reportedly forced to circle before landing on Heathrow Airport’s 27R runway or redirected on the ground after the creature was spotted walking across the turf.

Elsewhere fire appliances were seen escorting a British Airways Airbus A350-1041 which had flown in from Dubai after reports of a possible bird strike or tail strike when landing. 

A British Airways spokesperson has since confirmed that the flight landed safely and was met by the emergency services as a precaution. 

Flights were stopped from landing at Heathrow Airport today after a fox entered the runway - several planes have been forced to circle above the airport while the runway is cleared

Flights were stopped from landing at Heathrow Airport today after a fox entered the runway - several planes have been forced to circle above the airport while the runway is cleared

Flights were stopped from landing at Heathrow Airport today after a fox entered the runway – several planes have been forced to circle above the airport while the runway is cleared

The chaos could now spark travel delays for hundreds of passengers who were scheduled to arrive and depart from Heathrow. Pictured: A plane at Heathrow 27R

The chaos could now spark travel delays for hundreds of passengers who were scheduled to arrive and depart from Heathrow. Pictured: A plane at Heathrow 27R

The chaos could now spark travel delays for hundreds of passengers who were scheduled to arrive and depart from Heathrow. Pictured: A plane at Heathrow 27R

A British Airways spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘The aircraft landed safely and customers and crew have all disembarked the aircraft.’

Images from the airport’s flight tracker today appeared to show several planes repeatedly circling the airport as the chaos ensued. 

On social media some travellers claimed planes were redirected on the ground or were forced to circle before they landed.  

One person wrote: ‘We have noticed the same planes going around.’

Another user added: ‘BA plane surrounded by police and blue lights. Anyone know why? We’re in T5.’ 

The chaos could now spark travel delays for hundreds of passengers who were scheduled to arrive and depart from Heathrow today.  

Today Heathrow Noise tweeted: ‘Good afternoon, due to circumstances beyond our control we will switch our runways at 15:30, landing on the northern runway 27R and taking off from the southern runway 27L.’

Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports and hosts hundreds of transit flights every day. 

MailOnline has contacted Heathrow Airport for comment.

Planes were reportedly forced to abort landing on Heathrow Airport's southern 27R runway after the creature was spotted

Planes were reportedly forced to abort landing on Heathrow Airport's southern 27R runway after the creature was spotted

Planes were reportedly forced to abort landing on Heathrow Airport’s southern 27R runway after the creature was spotted

Images from the airport's flight tracker today appeared to show several planes repeatedly circling the airport

Images from the airport's flight tracker today appeared to show several planes repeatedly circling the airport

Images from the airport’s flight tracker today appeared to show several planes repeatedly circling the airport 

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 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. 

Source: dailymail

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