A Delta plane bound for Los Angeles made an emergency landing after the flight crew reported a bird strike shortly after takeoff from Kennedy Airport Thursday, Federal Aviation Administration officials said.
Flight 1063 had just taken off about 3:20 p.m. when the pilot declared an emergency and requested permission to return to the airport, said Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman.
The Boeing 757 with 172 passengers and seven crew on board landed safely just before 3:40 p.m., Peters said. The Associated Press reported Thursday night that the passengers were switched to another Los Angeles-bound flight.
Emergency crews met the plane on the runway at Kennedy and work crews inspected its engine for possible damage.
Joseph Perone, a Delta spokesman, confirmed that the plane hit a bird. "Immediately after takeoff, a bird struck the engine," he said.
The captain reconfigured the plane for landing and the jet landed safety on Runway 22R about 20 minutes after takeoff, Perone said.
In recordings of Delta Flight 1063's communications with Kennedy Airport air traffic controllers, posted on the website LiveATC.net, the pilot states: "Delta 1063 has had engine failure on the right engine. Declaring an emergency due to bird strike." The pilot next requests instructions to make a visual approach landing on Runway 22R.
CNN correspondent Ali Velshi, who was on the flight, tweeted after the incident: "Very big kudos to captin and crew of @Delta 1063 JKF-LAX for a quick turnaround & landing after bird strike & cabin filling with smoke."