Japan Airlines flight bound for New York made an emergency landing at a Tokyo airport Tuesday due to engine trouble apparently caused by a bird strike, the company said.
The Boeing 777 plane carrying 233 passengers and 15 crew members took off from Tokyo’s Haneda airport at 11.00am local time but returned to land an hour later.
Footage shown by public broadcaster NHK showed the plane safely landing at the airport.
“It seems that a bird got sucked into the left engine when taking off,” a JAL spokesman told AFP.
“The plane discarded fuel in the air” to reduce weight ahead of landing, he said.
There were no injuries among any of the 248 people on board, the spokesman said..
A land ministry official said that a grass field next to one of the four runways briefly caught fire after the JAL jet departed but it was soon extinguished.
“We closed this runway as there may be some parts that dropped from the plane,” he said.
There was no immediate information on any damage sustained by the plane and no major delays were caused by the incident.
Haneda – officially known as Tokyo International Airport – is the world’s fifth busiest airport, according to Airports Council International, with more than 75 million passengers each year.
According to the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), bird strikes are rarely dangerous.
“Aircraft are designed and built to withstand bird strikes and pilots undergo rigorous training to enable them to deal with eventualities like a bird strike,” said BALPA flight safety specialist, Stephen Landells.
The most notable example of a bird strike was 2009’s US Airways Flight 1549, dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson”.
The pilot safely landed a passenger plane on the Hudson River in New York after both engines were damaged by a bird strike.
The actions of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger saved the lives of 155 passengers and the story was turned into a Hollywood film.
In July, an AirAsia X flight had to divert to Brisbane after a suspected bird strike.