Brian Curtis, NBC 5 News
Officials say a Dallas-bound American Airlines flight powered down an engine after a bird strike and made an emergency landing at Mineta San Jose International Airport in California. No injuries were reported.
An American Airlines flight bound for Dallas out of San Jose, Calif., had to turn around and make an emergency landing after a bird strike Friday morning.
AA Flight 1118 took off from San Jose at 8:20 a.m. CT and struck a bird two minutes later, Mineta San Jose International Airport spokesperson Rosemary Barnes said.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 had reached an altitude of 900 feet before being forced to return to San Jose, which it did about 20 minutes later.
American Airlines spokesperson Matt Miller said maintenance crews are checking out the engine to see if the bird strike did any damage. He added that there were no reports of engine failure following the strike.
There were no injuries to any of the 139 passengers, including the five crew members aboard, according to Miller.
Still, some passengers were shaken by the experience. Michael Whitley, who lives in Dallas, told NBC Bay Area that he wrote a goodbye message on his palm to his children, because he thought he was going to die.
"You never know," Whitley said.
Whitley said it was "pretty tense" on board and credited the pilot for "doing a great job" in landing the plane safely.
"I heard a loud bang," Whitely said, "And the whole plane kind of shook. It was shuddering pretty good. Everyone's blood pressure was going through the roof."
After arriving in Dallas, passenger Tim Shiple recalled the emergency to NBC 5.
"We were going up on the plane and everybody was kind of relaxed because it was on takeoff. And there was just, all of a sudden, a bang, jolt and then the plane started to lose altitude. The captain came on and was just really calm and professional and said that, you know, we’re going to turn around and everybody buckled their seatbelts and there was no panic," said Tim Shiple, passenger. "I thought it was well handled ... because the crew was so calm it kept everybody else in a calmer state."
Earlier this week, AA Flight 1017 from Dallas to Seattle had to return to DFW after striking a bird on takeoff. The airport filed a strike report and sent the remains to the Smithsonian Feather and DNA Lab for identification.
NBC 5's Frank Heinz and Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.