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Unknown object strikes Colombian A320 in cruise

Colombian investigators are trying to ascertain the nature of an object which struck an Airbus A320 at cruise altitude in the country’s airspace.

The LAN Colombia aircraft (CC-BAR) had been operating flight 4C3509, a service to Bogota from Cancun, on 10 January.

Preliminary information from Colombian authorities, disclosed by French investigation agency BEA, states that the aircraft had been cruising at 35,000ft within the Bogota flight information region.

It was travelling between the waypoint KAKOL, on the Panamanian border, and the VOR at Rio Negro when the incident occurred.

BEA says that the aircraft, flying at 480kt, sustained an “impact from an unknown object”.

There was no alarm or indications of a malfunction, it states, and the crew – having checked the A320’s systems – opted to continue to Bogota.

Inspection of the aircraft revealed a 20cm depression on the forward left-hand side of the aircraft.

Investigators also state that there were visual indications of a substance of unclear origin, and that a sample is being studied to determine its composition.

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