updated 11/10/2008 2:41:02 PM ET 2008-11-10T19:41:02

A Ryanair flight originating in Frankfurt with 166 passengers aboard made an emergency landing at a Rome airport Monday after birds hit the aircraft, officials said.

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Three passengers and two crew members were taken to hospital with minor injuries, Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said.

The aircraft "suffered multiple bird strikes" as it was approaching Ciampino airport, McNamara said. Ryanair spokeswoman Pauline McAlester said the birds were sucked into the engine as the aircraft was coming in to land.

Italy's civil aviation agency ENAC said the Boeing 737 landed safely just before 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) Monday.

Airport fire official Marco Ghimenti told Sky TG-24 TV that passengers left the plane through a door and an emergency chute. He said that the landing gear appeared to give way when the plane came down at the far end of a runway.

McNamara said the jet's left-hand main landing gear suffered substantial damage that was delaying the removal of the jet from the runway.

ENAC said the airport, on the Italian capital's southeast outskirts, would reopen at 2:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) Tuesday.

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