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Flight returns to YLW after hitting eagle

The pilot of an Alaska Airlines flight bound from Kelowna to Seattle was forced to return to YLW after an encounter with an eagle.

Kelowna Airport Communications Coordinator, Jenelle Hynes, says the plane had just taken off from Kelowna Wednesday afternoon when the incident occurred.

"Shortly after takeoff the pilot saw a young eagle come towards him then immediately felt the impact," says Hynes.

"As a precaution the pilot turned the aircraft around back to YLW. It was to receive a full mechanical inspection. The passengers and luggage were all offloaded."

Hynes says passengers were re-booked on another flight.

Alaska Airlines did send a second plane to Kelowna to get the passengers to Seattle.

Hynes says those passengers that were able to re-book on that flight did so. That flight took off without incident shortly before 3 p.m.

"The aircraft that hit the bird is still here," says Hynes who indicates the bird hit the plane's right engine.

"It's unfortunate but It does not happen all the time."

Hynes says the pilot did follow correct procedure in returning to the airport.



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