An American Airlines regional jet that was taking off at Charlotte Douglas International Airport headed to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in Mississippi with 44 passengers and four crew members aboard struck a deer Wednesday. The crew declared an emergency and returned to the airport.
“We had a loud bang, we’re coming back,” someone who appears to be a pilot tells an air traffic controller. The jet landed on runway 18 Left/36 Right and passengers evacuated on the runway. They were returned to the terminal on buses and no injuries were reported. The plane was leaking jet fuel and after inspection was towed away. The runway reopened shortly after 2 p.m. Wildlife strikes aren’t rare at Charlotte’s airport, but they don’t usually cause damage. Almost all of them were collisions with small birds or bats, though a coyote and a raccoon were also struck on Charlotte’s runways last year.The most famous wildlife strike associated with Charlotte was the emergency forced landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, after Canada geese were ingested into both engines of the Airbus 320. All passengers safely escaped.