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Engine catches fire on American Airlines flight after bird strike

American Airlines flight 1958 was departing Columbus, Ohio, when a bird struck one of the plane's engines, causing it to catch fire.
Posted at 8:56 AM, Apr 24, 2023

A bird strike over the weekend forced an American Airlines flight to make an emergency landing less than an hour after takeoff.

American Airlines flight 1958 was departing John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, early Sunday morning for Phoenix when a bird hit one of the plane's engines, causing it to catch fire. 

American Airlines said the Boeing 737 was able to turn around and land safely back at the airport under its own power, where firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

The plane had 173 passengers on board but no injuries were reported. Airport officials said the incident caused some minor delays.

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The Federal Aviation Administration says bird strikes like this one could be on the rise due to growing bird populations as airlines have become quieter.

"Strikes occur every day, but when compared to the total number of flights in the system, they are rare," the FAA said in a recent report. "Although it is impossible to eliminate all strikes at all times between aircraft and animals, comprehensive assessment, planning and management techniques have successfully mitigated damaging strikes on or near airports."

According to FAA data, wildlife strikes killed more than 301 people and destroyed over 298 aircraft from 1988-2021.