Plane Engine Catches Fire After ‘Bird Strike’

A bird strike caused the engine of an American Airlines flight to catch fire, forcing pilots to turn around shortly after take-off and land the plane back at John Glenn Columbus International Airport early Sunday morning.

Airport officials said American Airlines flight 1958 landed safely, no one was injured in the incident and the airport was shut down for only a few minutes while the plane returned for the emergency landing. An airport spokesperson couldn’t say how many passengers were on the flight.

The plane left about 7:45 a.m. and was headed for Phoenix when birds struck the engine shortly after takeoff. Airport officials couldn’t say how long the plane was in the air before rerouting back to the Columbus airport, but it didn’t make it out of the Central Ohio area.

Reports of birds striking aircraft exploded across the country after the so-called Miracle on the Hudson in 2009, when a US Airways jet with 155 people aboard hit a flock of Canada geese in New York. Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger glided the aircraft into the Hudson River and everyone on board survived.

Michael Begier, national coordinator for the USDA’s Airport Wildlife Hazards Program, has told USA TODAY that much of the increase came from better reporting by pilots, tower personnel, mechanics and others.

Sarah McQuaide, spokesperson for the Columbus airport, said the airport is open and operating as usual and the incident caused only minor delays for other flights.

McQuaide said the incident will be investigated by federal officials. That could be officials from the Federal Aviation Administration or the National Transportation Safety Board.

People across the Columbus area reported hearing strange engine sounds or seeing fire come from the plane’s engine on social media.

One unverified social post appeared to show the fire coming from the plane’s engines.

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