A Thomas Cook plane bound for London was forced to make a dramatic emergency landing last week when it flew into a large flock of storks.

The Airbus A321, which was carrying 170 passengers from Banjul airport in Gambia, suffered damage to both engines and the landing gear when it ingested at least 13 of the birds shortly after taking off.

"We heard big bangs and felt the entire aircraft shake," Berkshire-based flight attendant Kayleigh Loveridge wrote of the incident on Facebook on Friday, adding that the pilot shut one of the engines down before making a safe landing back in Banjul.

A spokesperson for Thomas Cook confirmed reports of the incident to MailOnline on Sunday, praising the crew's 'extremely professional' handling of the situation.

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Ms Loveridge, whose post garnered more than 1,000 "reactions" claims that at least 13 storks were confirmed dead but said there were probably 'many more' not on the runway.

'Tuesday 8th November was not "a typical day in the office"', she wrote, "We took off, and on our climb we went through a flock of approximately 50 storks, causing a bird strike to both engines - meaning that both engines were damaged and not functioning the way they should have.

"We heard big bangs, felt the entire aircraft shake, shortly followed by one of our emergency commands from the flight deck."