Bird strike forces plane to return to Lambert

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- It was quite a scare for passengers on a Southwest flight leaving St. Louis Monday afternoon.

A flock of birds was "sucked" into the right side engine of a Kansas City bound flight, according to Southwest Airlines.

"We heard a loud boom and smelled smoke," Brian Dunn said. "The pilot said we had a bird strike and were going back to the airport."

After the bird strike the pilot shut down the engine while flight attendants worked to keep the 102 passengers calm.

Some of the holiday travelers, like Greg Webb said he "smelled" the birds.

"It was like a flesh smell," he said.

Passengers had to return to the terminal and wait for a new plane and crew.

"It is aggravating, but better than what could have happened," Webb said.

Bird strikes happen every day, but they usually do not cause significant damage, according to Bird Strike Committee USA.

Passengers were finally able to board a new plane around 6:50 p.m. and arrived safely in Kansas City around 8:20 p.m.

No one was hurt.



  • Dawn

    I saw it it happen from Highway 70 and was quite concerned. The bright flames caught my eye. The engines emitted 2 big bursts of flame from the rear of the wing and left a double bubble of black smoke in the sky. The plane quit rising in altitude but continued on and I was hoping it made it back to Lambert. I wasn’t sure if I should call the airport. What is the reporting procedure for witnessing an event like this?

    • Bryan Dann

      Leave it to Fox to spell my both my last and first name utterly wrong even after being asked to spell it in person with the reporter. In any case it was not as scary as it was made out to be. The crew onboard had obviously experienced this sort of event before. There was a sudden “BANG” and smoke began to fill the plane which smelt like burnt rubber. I was at the first front right row directly facing the flight attendants who at first believed it was just the smell of the landing gear, which was later changed captain made his announcement and the plane was noticeably leaning to the right. Eventually we landed safely greeted by fire trucks on the tarmac. What was upsetting is how on the terminal we were offered nothing in way of refreshment’s or vouchers for food as we were waiting hours for the next flight after this experience.

    • Katie

      Dawn, pilots in airplanes are able to contact air traffic controllers via radio. It’s the 21st century. Don’t worry about it.

  • Michelle

    My son was on this flight, he said he looked over heard a loud noise and saw fire and the next thing he knew he had blood and feathers on his window, he has ranked that flight the worst ever. Lol.

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