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Bird strikes force emergency landings in NY, NJ

ROCHESTER - Two jetliners crossed paths with flocks of Canada geese shortly after taking off from airports on consecutive days in New York and New Jersey this week, and the collisions with the large birds forced the pilots to make emergency landings.

No one was hurt.

A US Airways jet headed to Charlotte, N.C., with 124 passengers and a crew of five struck several geese yesterday morning about two minutes after leaving Rochester's airport. The pilot reported a problem with one of the two engines, and the plane turned back, officials said. Passengers said they heard a loud noise followed by the smell of burning.

The Airbus A319 landed safety at 8:30 a.m. The plane underwent repairs, the flight was canceled and passengers were shifted to other flights. The last bird strike at Rochester's airport was three years ago, airport spokeswoman Jennifer Hanrahan said.

Canada geese also struck a Continental Airlines jet with 301 people aboard shortly as it took off from Newark Liberty International Airport at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Boeing 777, bound for Hong Kong, landed safely and did not appear to be damaged, the airline said. Most of the passengers were rebooked on a flight Thursday morning to Hong Kong.

In January 2009, another Charlotte-bound US Airways flight struck a flock of Canada geese and lost both engines minutes after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who retired earlier this month, landed the Airbus A320 safely on the Hudson River. All 150 passengers on that flight survived.

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