A plane taking off from London Southend Airport was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted after being struck by a large bird during take off.

easyJet flight EZY7435 for Malaga took off from the airport at 4.45pm yesterday afternoon, however one of the engines is understood to have been hit by a large bird such as a seagull.

Nearby Rochford residents reported hearing an unusual and 'unhealthy' sounding plane as it began its ascent.

The plane's pilot diverted immediately to Stansted, where the plane made a safe landing.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “The flight was diverted to Stansted airport due to a bird hitting the plane. We now plan to refuel and continue the flight. The crew will be keeping passengers up to date on the situation.”

Due to a high demand for flights from Stansted yesterday evening, passengers were told that they would not be able to fly and that they would have to make their own arrangements to return home to be reimbursed by the company at a later date.