Plane Returns to O'Hare After Flying into Flock of Birds

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    An American Airlines plane on its way to China returned to O'Hare International Airport Sunday morning after flying into a flock of birds, officials said.

    An American Airlines plane on its way  to China returned to O'Hare International Airport Sunday morning after flying into a flock of birds, officials said.

    Flight 289, which was headed to Shanghai, returned to O'Hare Airport around 11:14 a.m. Sunday after an apparent bird strike, according to American Airlines spokeswoman My-Linh Bui.

    Bui said the incident happened shortly after takeoff and the plane, carrying 237 passengers and 15 crew members, returned to Chicago "without incident."

    Chicago Fire Media tweeted that an EMS Plan 1 was called to  the airport, sending several ambulances to the scene as a precaution.

    Birds Striking Airplanes a Common Problem

    Birds Striking Airplanes a Common Problem
    Birds and other wildlife have collided with aircraft at O'Hare and Midway International Airports more than 430 times since the beginning of 2012, and reports of wildlife strikes in the Chicago area have steadily risen over the past 20 years, NBC5 Investigates has found.

    The passengers were placed on a later flight scheduled to leave O'Hare at 2:30 p.m., Bui said.

    Birds and other wildlife have collided with aircraft at O'Hare and Midway International Airports more than 430 times since the beginning of 2012, and reports of wildlife strikes in the Chicago area have steadily risen over the past 20 years, NBC5 Investigates has found.

    What's more, it is likely that many more strikes at both airports have never been reported at all, making it unclear just how prevalent the problem of wildlife and aircraft may be.

    Just three weeks ago, a Southwest Airlines flight bound for Chicago made an emergency landing in North Carolina after a bird flew into one of its engines. And the January, 2009 flight known as "The Miracle on the Hudson" - where Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew safely landed a U.S. Airways Airbus on New York's Hudson River after hitting a flock of birds - is the stuff of legend.

    Most of the strikes are inconsequential, with no damage or injuries. Others are minor - the airline equivalent of a fender-bender. But according to the reports filed with the FAA, scores of strikes in the Chicago area have caused significant damage to planes. In fact, across the country -- since 1990- 54 planes have been destroyed, and 23 people have been killed in crashes due to strikes by birds and other wildlife.

    After landing in Chicago Sunday, the Boeing 777-200 plane was taken to maintenance where it was being inspected, Bui said. The extent of the damage was not immediately known.