American Airlines plane damaged after reportedly hitting bird, returns to airport

Pilots safely landed plane and returned to gate

An American Airlines flight had to turn around on Saturday after it reportedly hit a bird that damaged the plane’s windscreen.

The flight from Chicago O’Hare to Cleveland operated by Envoy Airlines under AA’s regional American Eagle brand “experienced a mechanical issue with the windscreen and returned to the airport” shortly after takeoff, according to an American Airlines spokesperson.

The airline didn’t specify what caused the issue, but TMZ reported it was believed to be a bird that collided with the plane. The news outlet published alarming photos of cockpit glass with spider web cracks.

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The pilots turned around and were able to safely land the plane and return to the gate without incident, according to the airline spokesperson.

“We changed aircraft and the flight re-departed shortly after,” they said.

An American Airlines flight had to turn around on Saturday after it reportedly hit a bird that damaged the plane’s windscreen. (iStock)

An American Airlines flight had to turn around on Saturday after it reportedly hit a bird that damaged the plane’s windscreen. (iStock) (iStock)

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There were no reports of injuries to any passengers or crew members.

Collisions between aircraft and birds or other animals – called wildlife strikes – are more common than many people may realize. There were more than 17,200 strikes at U.S. airports last year, according to the FAA. The majority of bird strikes occur while an aircraft is landing, and more than a third happen during take-off.

The most well-known example is likely the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson,” when Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger emergency-landed a US Airways Airbus 320 on the Hudson River after the plane collided with a flock of geese.

This Jan. 15, 2009 photo shows a diver preparing to rescue passengers that escaped from the aircraft that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York. (AP)

This Jan. 15, 2009 photo shows a diver preparing to rescue passengers that escaped from the aircraft that made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York. (AP) (AP)

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This wasn’t the only bird strike near Chicago O’Hare this month. On Nov. 1, a FedEx 767 hit a bird at the airport, though no damage was reported, according to the FAA.

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