SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 19, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A Delta passenger jet with 223 people onboard was forced to make an emergency landing Saturday night after the plane collided with a flock of pelicans shortly after takeoff.
According to an airline statement, Delta flight 248 was just 15 minutes into a direct flight from Salt Lake City to Paris when the incident took place.
“Delta flight 248 operating from Salt Lake City to Paris, France safely returned to SLC after encountering the birds on ascent,” the airline statement said. “The flight landed safely and returned to the gate, where customers deplaned normally. The safety of our customers and crew is Delta’s top priority, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”
Passenger Jennifer Newman described the bird strike in a posting on social media.
“After a scary bird strike experience attempting to get to Paris last night, my husband & I will head to the airport again soon to board a new flight to get to Paris a day later,” she said.
“We could have been mad or upset we missed a day in our short trip but instead we are choosing to focus on the good. We are safe when it could have been so much worse. A few more inches & one of the birds would have hit the engine directly. We had amazing pilots and crew that got us on the ground safely and eased our nerves. Do you look for the dark clouds in the storm or for the rainbows and silver lining?”
In a later post Newman repeated her praise for the Delta pilots and cabin crew.
“Our heroes!!! They deservingly arrived to the gate to a standing ovation from the passengers. They were extremely humble and gave credit to the flight crew who deserves a standing ovation as well but at least got high 5’s & hugs from us. These are 2 of the 4 of our pilots that navigated us to the ground yesterday after over 8 bird strikes – one that just missed the engine and one that hit the windshield directly in front of the co-pilot. We were $5,800 lbs over weight from the birds. So thankful for their calmness under pressure. Thrilled they are our pilots today.”
The pilots made the emergency landing in part due to limited visibility from the cockpit windshield.
Damage to the Boeing 767-300 aircraft was ultimately characterized as minor.