What could have been a major air mishap was at the weekend averted at the Ilorin International Airport Kwara State, as the bird strikes on the Med-View plane carrying 222 intending pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aborted the take-off of the trip. THISDAY checks revealed that it took the quick initiative of the pilot of the plane to return to the airport after few minutes of its take-off when he discovered red signal from the plane. It was gathered that the development made the pilot to abort a Saudi-bound flight at Ilorin airport. Sources close to the airline said a team of engineers has been deployed in Ilorin to get the aircraft back to service. Confirming the development yesterday, the management of the airline said: "The B767 aircraft carrying 222 pilgrims was taxiing for takeoff when it was struck by a brood of birds forcing the pilot to abort the flight." The statement added that "the 222 pilgrims were de-boarded without incident, and arrangements are being made to provide another aircraft to airlift them. The airline however assured all pilgrims that the schedule for their airlift to the Holy land would not be affected by the incident. Meanwhile, the Manager of Ilorin International Airport, Alhaji AbdulAzeez Ibrahim, has confirmed that 1,774 of the 2017 intending pilgrims have so far been transported to Saudi Arabia from the airport. Ibrahim who spoke with journalists yesterday disclosed that 460 pilgrims made the first batch from the airport, 215 were the second batch while 539 pilgrims were the third batch. He then said the airport authority had perfected arrangement for a successful transportation of all the pilgrims from Kwara, Ondo and Ekiti States from the airport.