Bird strike forces flight to return to Denver

Posted at 3:22 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 01:11:59-04

A Virgin America flight from Denver to San Francisco was forced to return to Denver shortly after take-off because the aircraft collided with a bird.

Flight 865 was scheduled to take off at 11:35 a.m. It landed safely around noon, according to Heath Montgomery with Denver International Airport (DEN). No one was hurt.

“As is standard operating procedure in such circumstances and out of an abundance of caution, the captain declared an emergency, but the aircraft continued to operate as normal, and the safety of the passengers and crew was never in question,” airline officials said in a statement obtained by our partners at The Denver Post.

Passengers told Denver7 Reporter Mark Boyle the pilot told them the Airbus A320 had to return to the airport due to a bird strike.

Radio transmissions to air traffic control a possible strike on the right engine.

"The engine has a lot of moving parts in it  And even a small chip in one of those pieces can cause an unbalanced situation, or dangerous situation, air flow problems," said Kevin Kuhlmann of Metropolitan State University of Denver.

“We are working to find alternative travel options for affected guests to get them to their destinations as soon as possible,” the Post quoted the airline as stating.

"The A320 typically seats 150 passengers in a two-class cabin – or up to 180 in a high-density layout for low-cost and charter flights," according to the Airbus website.


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