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Jetliner Hits Bear on Runway in Alaska

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An Alaska Airlines jetliner collided with a brown bear while landing early Saturday evening in Yakutat, killing the animal as well as causing a lot of damage to the plane. No one inside the plane was hurt.

Airport crew members had cleared the runway about ten minutes before flight 66 was expected to land. The crew did not see any signs of wildlife during the check, but as the plane began to land the pilots spotted two bears crossing the runway. Alaska Airlines said in a statement, “The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane.”

The Boeing 737-700 struck and killed the brown bear, but the cub accompanying it was uninjured. The pilots saw the “bear lying about 20 feet off the center of the runway,” as the plane went to land just before 6:30 p.m. None of the passengers or crew members aboard the plane were injured during the incident. The left engine of the plane was damaged, and the plane remained in Yakutat on Sunday. “Our maintenance technicians are working to repair the plane, which will take a couple of days,” Alaska Airlines stated.

Crew members at the Yakutat Airport cleared the bear carcass from the runway, and officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are expected to collect the remains. Passengers flying out of Yakutat were picked up by flight 107 Saturday night and flown to Anchorage. Alaska Airlines said they were rebooked on other flights after reaching Anchorage.

Source: Anchorage Daily News