Video: Passenger jet hits flock of birds

  1. Closed captioning of: Passenger jet hits flock of birds

    >>> soaking by sunday night.

    >>> there has been another close call involving a commercial airliner , a jumbo jet this time and a flock of geese. this one happened in the skies over new jersey. witnesses described the collision as loud and terrifying. a reminder of the danger of birds and planes sharing the same air space . the story tonight from nbc's tom costello.

    >> reporter: it was a harrowing 90 minutes wednesday for the 301 people onboard a fully-loaded jumbo jet . continental 99 from newark to hong kong left at 6:31 and was only 300 feet in the air when it ran into a flock of canada geese . immediately raising concern that the plane's engines might not make it the 16 hours to asia. the radar track shows the boeing 777 circling over new jersey for nearly 90 minutes while it dumped jet fuel before landing safely back at newark. the fuel mist evaporating in the sky. captain tom casey knows about dumping 7,000 pounds of fuel. he once had to abort a new york to tokyo flight.

    >> the plane can't take a landing at those heavy weights, 100,000 pounds of fuel.

    >> reporter: last year's "miracle on the hudson" flight drove home the bird risk after geese took out both engines. in the first nine months of 2009 , reports of bird strikes were up 24% to just over 7,200. that sudden jump is largely because of better reporting. while the geese population is exploding, wild life experts insist loud cannons, bird trapping, egg and nest removals already made airports much safer.

    >> i think the threat is growing outside of the airport environment in these strikes occurring 2,000, 3,000 feet.

    >> reporter: that's what happened in november as frontier flight 820 departed kansas city for denver.

    >> multiple bird strikes .

    >> reporter: they landed safe lay on one engine. to deal with the out-of-airport threats, airports are experimenting with bird radar to guide planes around large flocks. also putting strobe lights on planes to scare birds away. all in an effort to reduce costly and potentially deadly encounters in the skies. tom costello, nbc news, washington.

    >>> some sharp words for israel

updated 3/12/2010 7:32:32 PM ET 2010-03-13T00:32:32

Two jetliners crossed paths with flocks of Canada geese shortly after taking off from airports on consecutive days in New York and New Jersey, and the collisions with the large birds forced the pilots to make emergency landings. No one was hurt.

A US Airways jet headed to Charlotte, N.C., with 124 passengers and a crew of five struck several geese Thursday morning about two minutes after leaving Rochester's airport in upstate New York. The pilot reported a problem with one of the two engines, and the plane turned back, officials said. Passengers said they heard a loud noise followed by the smell of burning.

The Airbus A319 landed safety at 8:30 a.m. The plane underwent repairs, the flight was canceled and passengers were shifted to other flights. The last bird strike at Rochester's airport was three years ago, airport spokeswoman Jennifer Hanrahan said.

Canada geese also struck a Continental Airlines jet with 301 people aboard shortly as it took off from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Boeing 777, bound for Hong Kong, landed safely and did not appear to be damaged, the airline said. Most of the passengers were rebooked on a flight Thursday morning to Hong Kong.

There were warnings of migrating birds in the area, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Canada geese typically range in size from about 6 pounds to 12 pounds.

In January 2009, another Charlotte-bound US Airways flight struck a flock of Canada geese and lost both engines minutes after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who retired earlier this month, landed the Airbus A320 safely on the Hudson River and was quickly hailed as an American hero. All 150 passengers survived.

Reports of airplanes hitting birds and other wildlife surged last year, including serious accidents such as birds crashing through cockpits and crippling engines in flight, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of new government data.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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