Fugitive Vulture Poses Threat to Planes

Escaped bird of prey in Scotland poses 'genuine' danger
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2010 4:25 PM CDT
In this photo released by a veterinarian team at Kasetsart University, a brown and white Himalayan griffon vulture with a radio detector on its wing flies after being released on top of a mountain in...   (AP Photo/Kasetsart University)

(Newser) – Scottish pilots have been warned to be on the lookout for a massive vulture that escaped from a local aviary, the BBC reports. The Griffon Vulture, known as Gandalf, has a 10-foot wingspan and can reach altitudes of 37,000 feet. Handlers for the World of Wings center say Gandalf was caught in a gust of wind during a display flight and simply left the center.

"Gandalf is an absolute monster bird with a 10-and-a-half-foot wingspan. She poses a genuine threat to airplanes," the director of the center said. "It could do a lot of damage to a large aircraft," added a rep for Scotland's Cumbernauld Airport. "But it's also half the size of some of our small training aircraft and it could take one of them, or even a helicopter, right out."

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