Plane Hits Bird, Makes Emergency Landing in San Jose

By Lisa Fernandez, Marla Tellez and Shelby Hansen
|  Friday, Nov 15, 2013  |  Updated 6:15 PM PDT
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A plane headed for Dallas made an emergency landing at San Jose International Airport after it hit a bird. Scott Budman reports.

A plane headed for Dallas made an emergency landing at San Jose International Airport after it hit a bird. Scott Budman reports.

Photos and Videos

Airplane Makes Emergency Landing at San Jose Airport After Hitting Bird

Dallas-bound passengers on an American Airlines flight struck a bird at San Jose International Airport and made an emergency landing. Christie Smith reports.

RAW VIDEO: Dallas-Bound Passengers "Tense" After Plane Strikes Bird at SJC

Dallas-bound passengers Michael Whitley and Patrick Lawler tell NBC Bay Area how tense it was when an American Airlines flight struck a bird at San Jose International Airport and made an emergency landing. There were no injuries.
More Photos and Videos

A Dallas-bound American Airlines plane carrying 139 passengers taking off from San Jose International Airport hit a bird early Friday morning and had to make an emergency landing.

There were no injuries, including among the five crew members aboard, according to airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes.

But Michael Whitley, who lives in Dallas, told NBC Bay Area that he wrote a goodbye message on his palm to his children, because he thought he was going to die.

"You never know," Whitley said.

He said it was "pretty tense" on board for a while and credited the pilot for "doing a great job" in landing the plane safely.

"I heard a loud bang," he said, "And the whole plane kind of shook. It was shuddering pretty good. Everyone's blood pressure was going through the roof."



SPOTLIGHT: NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit Reports on Bird Strikes

Flight 1118 took off from San Jose at 6:20 a.m. and struck a bird at 6:42 a.m., Barnes said.



Airline spokesman Matt Miller said maintenance crews are checking out the engine to see if the bird strike did any damage.

At 7:45 a.m., passengers, such as Patrick Lawler, were in the baggage claim area, hoping to get on different flights to the Dallas area.

"They haven't told us anything," Lawler said. "I never really liked to fly anyway."

For the first 10 months of the year, San Jose Airport officials say they "hazed,” or dispersed, more than 5,000 birds. They do that by playing loud music near the runways where the bird gather.

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