Sunday, February 26, 2012

Denver-bound flight returns to St. Louis after bird strike

A Frontier Airlines flight headed for Denver early this morning made an emergency landing at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, minutes after a collision with at least one bird.

No one was injured in the incident, said airport spokesman Jeff Lea.

Frontier flight 297 departed St. Louis a little after 6 a.m. Sunday for Denver International Airport. The flight was scheduled to take two hours.

The Airbus A320 was airborne for just minutes when the bird strike happened, Lea said.

The plane promptly made an uneventful emergency landing at Lambert.

The aircraft was damaged. Passengers continued their trip on another Frontier plane, Lea said.

A Facebook posting by someone reportedly on the flight noted that passengers heard "this loud bang and saw sparks out the window."

Bird strikes are not unusual. But the occurrences rarely pose a serious threat to plane passengers, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA maintains a "wildlife strike" database. It shows that Sunday's incident was the fourth one at Lambert this year.

The FAA says 23 deaths and 209 injuries nationwide have been attributed to wildlife strikes since 1990.

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