VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A plane leaving Vancouver for Denver was midway through takeoff when a bird flew into the engine, leaving passengers shocked but ultimately safe.
Elizabeth George, who flies once a week, was on the United Airlines flight scheduled to depart at 12:30 p.m.Friday.
She says the nose of the plane was already set toward the sky when she was jolted by a sudden bump.
“Then the plane went hard back onto the ground, and then slammed on the brakes.”
The plane continued down the runway, and Geroge says she heard the tires pop.
“Eventually we stopped, it felt like forever though,” she explains. “We just kind of sat there in silence for a while. Everyone was kind of confused because it felt like we were braking forever. I think the worst part about that is you don’t know where the end of the runway is. We were all kind of looking at each other and bracing.”
A big thank you to the incredible pilot and staff on my @united flight from YVR to Denver. As we were lifting off we hit what we later discovered was a bird, which broke the right engine. We landed and braked so hard the wheels popped, but we are all okay! @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/Uz9EJ5AAJd
— Elizabeth George (@georgeelizabeth) November 8, 2019
George credits the captain with keeping the passengers calm and informed.
“He was extremely transparent. He didn’t have to tell us that the wheels were smoking or that we hit a bird,” she says. “He said everything and everyone was aware of what was happening the whole time.”
The smoking wheels meant the passengers faced a bit of a wait while a firetruck was called. George saw the site of the birdstrike from her window seat.
George has another flight booked for Saturday, some other passengers will be waiting for a flight set to leave YVR at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
“I think when I take off tomorrow I’m going to be a lot more nervous. This is very rare and I know that so I’m just going to take a deep breath before I take off tomorrow”
The Vancouver Airport says there is no impact on airport operations.
The plane, an Airbus A-319, can carry around 150 passengers.