Bird strike returns United Airlines flight to Chicago


(CNN) — A bird strike shortly after takeoff sent a United Airlines flight back to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Friday, the airline said.

Flight 1930, on a Boeing 737-900, was bound for Miami International Airport.

« The aircraft landed safely and passengers disembarked at the gate, » United Airlines said in a statement. The airline did not provide details of potential damage to the plane.

« I knew something was wrong because there was fire under the wing that kept coming out in spurts, and I felt like the plane was shaking a bit, » Fiock said. at CNN.

« We could hear the clatter of the engine trying to start and see the fire on our side since we were right next to the wing. The lights also kept flashing when it burst. Just hoped we could land safely ! »

Fiock said she didn’t realize a bird strike had caused the problem until after the plane landed.

« The pilots did a great job getting us back safely, and I’m very grateful to them and the crew for that, » she said.

The FlightAware flight tracking site shows Flight 1930 took off at 10.47am local time and returned to O’Hare 42 minutes later.

A new plane was assigned to the flight, the airline said, and it departed early Friday afternoon.

According to the FAA, engines are the most frequently damaged component of civilian aircraft in the United States, accounting for about a quarter of all damaged aircraft components.

The number of wildlife strikes with planes is on the increase, indicates the FAA on its wildlife site.

Strikes have increased steadily, from around 1,800 in 1990 to 16,000 in 2018, according to the FAA’s website.

« Expanding wildlife populations, increased aircraft movements, a trend toward faster, quieter aircraft, and awareness in the aviation community have all contributed to the observed increase in aircraft strikes. ‘Wild animals reported’, says the FAA website.

Top image: A United Airlines plane at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago in February. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images/File)

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