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Korean Air flight makes emergency landing after 'bird strike'

By
Elizabeth Shim
Korean Air flight 1203 (not pictured) returned to its point of departure Thursday morning less than an hour after takeoff. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Korean Air flight 1203 (not pictured) returned to its point of departure Thursday morning less than an hour after takeoff. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI

April 11 (UPI) -- A domestic Korean Air flight was forced to return to Seoul's Gimpo Airport after airline officials said a "bird strike" caused engine problems.

Korean Air flight 1203 returned to its point of departure Thursday morning less than an hour after takeoff; at Gimpo, the plane made an emergency landing, News 1 reported Thursday.

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A Korean Air representative told News 1 the pilot made a call to control tower at 7:37 a.m. after detecting a "vibration" in the cabin. In three minutes, the pilot decided to return to Seoul, according to the report.

The representative also said a bird collided with the engine of the airplane; loud noises and sparks were reported at the time of the incident.

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A total of 189 passengers were on the flight. They were able to board the next flight leaving for Jeju Island at 9:30 a.m.

Passengers aboard the flight said the crew announced the plane was returning to its point of origin after the engine breakdown, but did not provide reasons why, Yonhap reported.

"Five minutes after takeoff the crew said the flight would return, but no other broadcasts were made," said one passenger.

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The source said the lack of information created greater concern and fear among the people on the plane.

The crew also said they were "ready for landing" 15 minutes before arriving at Gimpo, but did not provide additional explanation.

The emergency landing comes days after the president of Korean Air died in Los Angeles.

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Cho Yang-ho, 70, grew the carrier but was most recently at the center of corruption investigations. His daughters earned notoriety for their tantrums directed at airline staff.

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