Plane strikes flock of birds, makes unexpected landing in Manchester

A Southwest Airlines passenger jet was forced to make an unexpected landing in Manchester, N.H., Friday after it struck a flock of birds during takeoff, according to the airport’s spokesman.

Flight 4055, a Boeing 737, departed Manchester-Boston Regional Airport for Baltimore-Washington International Airport at 8:46 a.m. when in came into contact with the birds in mid-air, spokesman Thomas Malafronte said.

As a precautionary measure, Southwest elected to cancel the flight and return to the airport until a thorough inspection could be completed. The 142 passengers on flight 4055 were taken off the plane and then moved to another aircraft which took them to BWI, according to Malafronte.

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“It is rare for an aircraft to land because of a bird strike, but as always, safety is the first priority,” the spokesman said.