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Subject Bird strikes Delta plane causing gaping hole in nose & damage to the windshield plane makes emergency landing
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Original Message This is the actual vehicle incident report from Emergency and Disaster Information Service:

The 50 passengers flying from Minneapolis to Rapid City learned late Tuesday night just how dangerous a bird can be. Within 10 minutes of departing around 10 p.m. from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, passengers reported hearing and feeling a loud "thump" before the pilot of the Canadair CRJ-200 abruptly reversed course and returned to Minneapolis. "We were still climbing," John P. Gomez of Rapid City said Wednesday morning. "About a minute after the landing gear pulled into place, we heard a big thump." Gomez said the pilot quickly informed passengers the plane had struck a bird. "The pilot immediately started to turn like he was headed back," he said. "He got on the intercom and said we hit a big bird and he didnít know the damage." The bird hit the plane at about 4,000 feet, according to a report from the Aviation Herald, an online aviation website. The website also reported that the crew told the tower they had a "pretty good bird strike" and needed to return to the field. The airliner landed without incident but when passengers left the plane they saw a gaping hole in the nose. Gomez said it looked like there might have been damage to the windshield as well. Craig Martin of Green Bay, Wisc., is a frequent flier who said Wednesday upon arriving in Rapid City that he felt the collision radiate throughout the airliner.

"I knew something was going on because we weren't gaining altitude anymore," he said. "And then we landed and got to take a neat picture of a banged-up airplane." Sandra Picardi of Sturgis said the incident startled her. "I've never had anything like that happen before," she said. "I thought it might be the landing gear, but it never sounded or felt like that." Marissa Snow, director of corporate communications for SkyWest Airlines, confirmed Wednesday that a bird caused the damage that forced the pilots of SkyWest flight 4480, which was operating as a Delta Connection, to return to the Minneapolis airport. Passengers were given hotel vouchers and then were booked on another flight to Rapid City on Wednesday. The flight arrived around noon and the passengers were greeted by anxious loved ones. According to Federal Aviation Administration data on wildlife strikes, eight bird strikes were reported at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in April 2013 and about 15 last May. The birds included sparrows, red-tailed hawks, crows and Canada geese. There was even a Brazilian free-tailed bat. The type of bird involved in Tuesday night's collision has not been reported.

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