Plane hits deer during takeoff from North Carolina runway

By Daniel Uria   |   Feb. 16, 2017 at 4:36 PM

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- An airplane was damaged after striking a deer while taking off from an airport in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration said the American Eagle CRJ 700 declared an emergency and returned to Charlotte Douglas International Airport after hitting a deer while leaving the runway at 11:45 a.m.

Passengers and a pilot reported hearing a loud thud during the plane's takeoff roll, as an air traffic controller assessed the damage from the ground and instructed the plane to return to the airport.

"5320, you are showing you're trailing some kind of vapor or something off the right wing," the air traffic controller said, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Officials said the plane had begun to leak jet fuel and firefighters were called to douse the damaged wing with flame retardant foam.

No injuries were reported, as all 44 passengers were evacuated from the plane and bussed back to the terminal.

The FAA said the collision between the deer and the plane was the sixth at the airport since 1994. Charlotte Douglas spokeswoman Lee Davis said the airport would evaluate how the deer made it onto the runway.

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