Passengers on an Air Canada flight endured a tense descent into an Ottawa airport after a collision with a bird forced the plane to land with one engine.
The flight from Vancouver was inbound to Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport just after 12 a.m. Thursday when the pilot reported the plane had hit a flock of birds, damaging one of the engines.
Passengers described hearing a “huge bang”, while another saw sparks coming from the engine.
Steve Adams tweeted, “Huge props to the Air Canada pilots who landed us safely with one engine after striking a flock of birds on our decent (sic) into Ottawa.”
Crew members on the flight can be heard making a mayday call to air traffic control confirming the engine failure.
“There was a big thump, you really felt it in the plane,” Rich Leon told CTV Ottawa.
“I shook his hand (the pilot) and said, ‘Thanks a lot,’ basically, ‘You saved our lives today, thank you.’”
Adams added that emergency crews met the plane before it was towed to the gate.
“The aircraft sustained damage to the front and one of its engines,” Adams tweeted.
Air Canada, in a statement to CTV Ottawa, confirmed that flight AC342 from Vancouver to Ottawa made contact with birds on descent. No injuries have been reported.
“As per our operating procedures airport services were called and the aircraft landed safely,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Ottawa airport monitors for flocks of birds and has procedures in place to scare them away.
There were 170 passengers on board the Airbus 321 aircraft, some of whom took to social media to describe their experience.
“They shut down the port engine 30 sec before landing. We’ve landed but are surrounded by emergency vehicles,” Rich Loen wrote on Twitter.
Another passenger praised Air Canada pilots and crew for their handling of the situation. (embed)
“Bit of a hairy landing @FlyYOW tonight after hitting some birds but hats off to the @AirCanada pilots and crew for keeping everything under control,” Mich wrote on Twitter.
“Landed safely and then sat on the runway for awhile as a safety precaution before being towed to the gate.”
Air Canada says the aircraft is now in maintenance.
A large bird strike involving Canada geese caused both engines to fail on US Airways flight 1549 in January 2009, forcing the pilot to land an Airbus A320 in New York’s Hudson River.
---- With files from CTV Ottawa