Ohio plane fire puts renewed focus on recurring bird strikes

Apr 24, 2023, 12:56 PM

Shortly after an ordinary takeoff from an Ohio airport on Sunday, passengers aboard an American Airlines plane became alarmed when they heard loud noises and saw flames shooting out of an engine.

Moments later, when they learned a bird strike had caused an issue, many feared the worst. They took to their phones and social media to spread the word as the hobbled plane returned to the airport and landed without incident or injury.

“Scariest 30 minutes of my life this morning. And scary for my family, fiance, best friend & coworker who all got a text from me that my plane was crashing and I love them and I hope they get this message,” Cassy Sleeper said in a Facebook post. “So very blessed for my guardian angels who landed us safely. I am happy to now be back in my house, praying thanks to God for keeping us all safe.”

American Airlines flight 1958 had 173 people on board when it departed from John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, headed to Phoenix around 7:45 a.m. Sunday. The fire was detected a short time later and the Boeing 737 returned to the airport, where firefighters quickly doused the flames.

John Fisher, another passenger aboard the flight, told WCMH-TV in Columbus that the pilot said a flock of geese flew into the engine.

“The engine started making real loud ‘clonk, clonk, clonk’ noises (and) they eventually turned the engine off and turned around and went back to the airport,” Fisher said.

The airline said the plane was taken out of service for maintenance and that the passengers were booked on other flights. The facility remained operating as usual, and the fire only caused some minor flight delays, airport officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the matter.

The strike has again put a spotlight on the problems pilots, carriers and airports are facing as expanding bird and wildlife populations are making such strikes more commonplace, along with increased air traffic by quieter, turbofan-powered aircraft.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 15,556 strikes were reported in 2021, an increase of 33% from the 11,666 strikes reported in 2020. Globally, wildlife strikes killed more than 300 people and destroyed roughly 300 aircraft from 1988-2021.

The administration has been researching new technology that could significantly reduce the chances of aircraft striking birds. It would give birds the warnings they need to fly out of the paths of oncoming airplanes and helicopters.

Sarah McQuaide, communications and media relations manager for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which runs the John Glenn airport, said the authority’s airport operations team conducts airfield inspections multiple times a day to identify and mitigate any risks, and a full-time wildlife specialist adds to the efforts. She said bird strikes there vary seasonally with bird activity and bird migration, adding that the most strikes occur during bird migration periods.

United States News

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio. __ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Buttigieg; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican presidential candidate; Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. __ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Olena Zelenska, first lady of Ukraine; Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.; Rep. Tony Gonzales, […]

11 minutes ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former N...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections, and candidates will be facing the most stringent requirements yet to take part. Participating candidates must secure 4% of the vote in multiple polls and 70,000 unique donors to earn a spot on the […]

56 minutes ago

Associated Press

Video of Elijah McClain’s stop by police shown as officers on trial in Black man’s death

BRIGHTON, Colo. (AP) — Elijah McClain’s mother left a Colorado courtroom in tears Friday after prosecutors showed video footage of the 23-year-old Black man pinned down by police officers during a fatal 2019 confrontation, which rose to prominence during nationwide protests over racial discrimination and excessive force in policing. Two officers from the Denver suburb […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Biologists look to expand suitable habitat for North America’s largest and rarest tortoise

ENGLE, N.M. (AP) — While the average life span of North America’s largest and most rare tortoise species is unknown, biologists have said it could span upward of a century. So saving the endangered species is a long game — one that just got another nudge forward Friday as U.S. wildlife officials finalized an agreement […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Surgeons perform second pig heart transplant, trying to save a dying man

WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeons have transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying man in a bid to prolong his life – only the second patient to ever undergo such an experimental feat. Two days later, the man was cracking jokes and able to sit in a chair, Maryland doctors said Friday. The 58-year-old Navy veteran […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

GOP candidate challenging election loss in race to lead Texas’ most populous county drops lawsuit

HOUSTON (AP) — The highest profile Republican candidate who had sued seeking to overturn election results in the nation’s third-most populous county, a Democratic stronghold in deeply red Texas, has dropped her lawsuit. Alexandra del Moral Mealer was one of 21 GOP candidates who had filed lawsuits challenging their losses in November’s election in Harris […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Ohio plane fire puts renewed focus on recurring bird strikes