Jet returns to California airport after striking bird

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 09, 2011 5:09 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A passenger jet sucked a bird into one of its engines shortly after taking off from Sacramento on Saturday, but the engine kept running and the plane returned to land safely, the airline said.

Alaska Airlines flight 869 had just taken off from Sacramento International Airport in California when the bird struck, said Paul McElroy, a spokesman for the airline.

The pilot flew the plane back to the airport, he said.

"This was textbook. These bird strikes do happen occasionally, and the proper thing to do is just get back to the airport and land," he said.

There were 163 people on board the Boeing 737-800, including six crew members, he said.

An airline's crew examined the aircraft, but it was too early to tell if there was any damage.

The jet was on its way to Maui, Hawaii.

Alaska Airlines arranged to put the passengers on another plane to Maui.

There have been other bird strikes on flights from Sacramento's airport, which is in northern California, said Karen Doron, a spokeswoman for the airport.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)