A regional jet struck a very unlucky deer during takeoff out of Charlotte, NC, springing a fuel leak in the right wing and forcing the plane to return for an emergency landing. Birds? That makes sense. But a deer?
The American Eagle jet, an American Airlines regional flight, was headed to Mississipi from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, carrying 44 passengers and four crew, according to The Charlotte Observer:
The CRJ-700 struck the deer during its takeoff roll. The flight crew declared an emergency and then did a flyover so personnel on the ground could inspect it for damage prior to attempting a landing.
“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.
The airport is surrounded by thousands of acres of wooded land full of all sorts of fast critters. According to the Observer, the deer now joins a raccoon, coyote, and a lot of birds in the airport graveyard. Wildlife protections surrounding the airport will now be reviewed.
Not far from the airport is one of the most famously bloodthirsty planes of recent history, where the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane, US Airways Flight 1549, sits in the Carolinas Aviation Museum.