A Delta Airlines plane getting ready to take off from JFK this evening struck several birds, forcing the pilot to hit the brakes, flattening two tires in the process.
The Boeing 767 did not suffer any other damage and nobody was hurt, aviation officials said.
There were 202 passengers and 11 crew members on-board Delta flight 72, which was en route to Istanbul, company officials said.
Authorities aren't sure where the birds struck the plane, but the impact caused the pilot to abort his 5:45 p.m. takeoff and hit the brakes. The heat and force of the immediate stop made so-called blow-out plugs in the plane's tires to activate, causing the wheels to decompress in order to avoid a blowout, officials explained.
"The captain aborted the takeoff as a precautionary measure," Delta Airlines spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. "It was a bird strike."
The plane was able to taxi back to the gate under its own power. Passengers were off-loaded and are trying to get on new flights to Europe, Delta officials said.