Bird Strike Forces Plane to Return to Fort Lauderdale

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A US Airways flight bound for Washington DC from Fort Lauderdale was forced to return Wednesday after a bird struck the plane.

The plane was only a mile or two from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when the bird struck one of the engines just after 2 p.m. The collision caused considerable damage to the Boeing 737-400.

Seventy passengers and five crewmembers were on board the when the incident occurred.

Pariq Asala was sitting near a wing and said after the thump he saw a fireball shoot out of an engine and a terrible smell came over the plane.

"It smelled like burned car brakes. I knew immediately something was wrong," he said in a telephone interview with the Orlando Sentinel.

"Everyone remained calm even after the pilot said we had a bird strike," Asala continued.

"The captain and flight crew did an exceptional job of landing the plane without incident,'' said Mike Jachles, a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman to the Miami Herald.

As of 2:44 p.m., all passengers were removed from the plane with plans to send them to Washington DC on a later flight.

A US Airways spokesman said the plane will be taken out of service for a thorough examination.

Photo, cliff1066, flickr.

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