An American Airlines regional jet passenger plane hit a deer on takeoff at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Wednesday afternoon. The crew of the American Eagle jet declared an emergency and returned to the airport landing safely.
The aircraft carrying 44 passengers and four crew members first did a flyover so ground personnel could look for potential damage before they attempted the landing.
Watch: American Eagle Jet Lands After Suffering Wing Damage and Leaking Fuel
“We had a loud bang, we’re coming back,” someone who appears to be a pilot tells an air traffic controller, in a recording from the Charlotte Douglas control tower.
“OK, we think you hit – somebody that was passing said it was a deer,” the air traffic worker replies, then gives the plane directions to return.
“Say that again? I’ve got a bunch, a bunch of adrenaline here,” the crew member replies.
A few minutes later, the crew got the damage assessment from the ground.
“5320, you are showing you’re trailing some kind of vapor or something off the right wing,” an air traffic worker can be heard telling the flight crew.
“We copy and we understand,” the flight crew replies a moment later. – The Charlotte Observer
The American Eagle CRJ-700 jet was headed to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Mississippi. The passengers evacuated the aircraft on the runway and it was sprayed with foam because of a visible fuel leak caused by wing damage. No injuries were reported.
It is not unusual for wildlife strikes at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. While most of the collisions occur with birds they did report that a coyote and a raccoon were also struck last year.
Featured image from WSOC-TV Charlotte News