Chicago (WLS) — Aviation officials said the plane struck the bird after taking off from O’Hare International Airport on Friday morning.
United Flight #1930 was en route to Miami when it struck the bird shortly after takeoff, according to a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft then returned to the airport and landed without incident around 11:15 am.
“I looked out the window and I saw the plane,” said witness Alison Doshen, “and I saw a jet engine on fire and the sound coming from it was really loud.”
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While Doshen was on duty at Elmhurst, he said he heard pops and crackles and saw flames coming from the left engine.
“Immediate panic and shock,” she said. “I couldn’t record anything on my phone because I couldn’t stop watching it, trying to figure out where it was going or where it was coming from. It was so scary to watch.”
Chris McCullough lives south of the airport in Bensonville and witnessed the engine fire.
“We heard this huge noise. It shook the house,” McCullough said. “It was already shooting golden flames, alternating from second to second. One second there would be a flame, then there would be a second where it wasn’t, then it would burn again.”
United issued a statement this afternoon and was quoted as saying:
“United Flight 1930 returned to Chicago due to a bird strike shortly after takeoff. The aircraft landed safely and passengers disembarked at the gate. We have assigned a new aircraft to operate this flight and are estimated to depart soon.”
Witnesses thanked the staff and the passengers were safe.
“It was shocking to see, I’ve never seen anything like this before, but I’m glad everyone on board is safe, Goshen said.
“Not only did they help those passengers, but they helped the people on the ground when they got that plane back safely,” McCullough said.
The FAA said it is investigating the incident. No injuries were reported.
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