A Delta aircraft headed out of Charlotte to Atlanta was forced to return to Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Friday morning after a bird strike shortly after takeoff.
Airport officials confirmed that the incident occurred at about 9:29 a.m. and an alert was called in from the crew. The aircraft landed safely and taxied to the gate, airport officials said.
There were no reports of injuries.
The FAA, which is investigating the incident, says the plane landed about 9:45 a.m. The craft was identified as Delta Air Lines 1591, an MD-88 aircraft. The plane reportedly had 122 customers aboard. WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, reported that the customers were put on other flights.
It’s the second time this month the airport has had one of its planes involved in an animal collision.
On Feb. 15, an American Airlines regional jet that was taking off at Charlotte Douglas struck a deer, causing the crew to declare an emergency and return to the airport.
The American Eagle plane was headed to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Mississippi with 44 passengers and four crew members aboard, American spokeswoman Katie Cody said.
The CRJ-700 struck the deer during takeoff. The flight crew declared an emergency and then did a flyover so personnel on the ground could inspect it for damage before attempting a landing.
Globally, wildlife strikes killed about 260 airplane passengers and destroyed nearly 250 aircraft from 1990 through 2015, according to an FAA report published in November.
“Factors that contribute to this increasing threat are increasing populations of large birds and increased air traffic by quieter, turbofan-powered aircraft,” the report said.
In 2015, birds were involved in about 96 percent of the reported strikes, terrestrial mammals in 1.6 percent, bats in 2.3 percent and reptiles in 0.3 percent, according to the report. U.S. strikes dramatically increased over the years, while the number of damaging strikes that were reported declined since 2000.
The most famous wildlife strike associated with Charlotte was the emergency forced landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, after Canada geese were ingested into both engines of the Airbus 320. All passengers safely escaped. The pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, became a folk hero and the subject of the Hollywood movie “Sully.”
Flight 1549 was Charlotte-bound, and the plane is on permanent display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum near the airport.