The pilot of a US Airways jet reported a bird strike and an engine problem shortly after takeoff from an upstate New York airport Thursday, forcing the plane to turn back and make an emergency landing, officials said.
The pilot of Flight 1101 declared an emergency two minutes after leaving Rochester's airport for Charlotte, N.C., airline spokeswoman Tina Swail said. The plane hit several Canada geese at about 2,000 feet and had a problem with one of its two engines, Rochester airport spokeswoman Jennifer Hanrahan said.
The Airbus A319, which was carrying 124 passengers and a crew of five, landed safety at 8:30 a.m. and returned to the terminal.
Passengers said they heard a loud noise followed by the smell of burning.
"You could hear everyone gasp. Everyone knew something was wrong,'' passenger Nicole Dalberth, 20, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
The plane underwent repairs, the flight was canceled and passengers were shifted to other flights.
Last night, a different jet taking off from New Jersey en route to Hong Kong had to make an emergency landing at Newark Liberty International Airport after it struck a flock of geese shortly after takeoff. None of the 301 people on board were injured.
In January 2009, a Charlotte-bound US Airways flight struck a flock of Canada geese and lost both engines 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. 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.
The last bird strike at Rochester's airport was three years ago, Hanrahan said. No one was hurt.