SFO (KPIX) — There were tense moments at SFO Wednesday during one of the busiest travel days of the year after two departing flights were involved in bird strikes.
One of the planes was forced to make an emergency landing.
United Express Flight 6541 operated by Skywest took off for Redmond, Oregon at around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Moments later, the pilot radioed in saying he was having trouble after a bird hit the engine during takeoff.
“We just hit a bird. We need to come back,” the pilot is heard saying in recording of air traffic control tower communication.
Air traffic controllers then cleared the way for the plane to get back to the airport.
The Skywest plane landed safely, but just minutes later, United Airlines Flight 209 also reported a similar issue that forced the pilot to abort takeoff.
‘”We hit birds as well. Turkey vultures right about [unintelligible] section of the runway,” the United pilot is heard saying.
“I assuming at some point you want to go back to the gate?” the SFO Tower replies.
“209, that will be an affirmative,” said the pilot.
No one was hurt on either flight. The runway was closed for at least 45 minutes so crews could clear debris.