Alaska Airways flight hits bear on runway throughout touchdown
The Alaska Airlines 66 flight was arriving from Cordova to Yakutat when the pilots saw two bears crossing the road, according to Alaska Airlines.
“The ammunition was missing from the bears, but the pilot was hit on the left side as the bears passed under the plane,” the plane said. The pilots then spotted a bear lying in the middle of the road while piloting a Boeing 737-700 aircraft.
The left-hand column of the plane was damaged by a collision with a forensic pathologist. Six passengers were on the plane at the time, but no injuries were reported.
Upon being notified of the incident, air traffic controllers and pilots removed the bear’s body and took it to a coffin, according to Sam Dapcevich, a public relations officer for the Alaska department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
Alaska’s Department of Fish and Sport has been merged to prepare for the loss of the bear.
“It’s always difficult for something like this to happen,” Dapcevich told CNN. “I’ve been in Alaska all my life and we’ve been fighting birds and other animals … but this is the first time I’ve had a bear I’ve heard of.”
The plane is a little blocked. Airport workers are being trained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use pyrotechnics and vehicles to prevent animals from coming close to the road and disrupting air traffic, Dapcevich said.
The staff had seen two bears in the area and believed they were a female bear and a baby. At the time of the incident, staff had not seen any wildlife during the snow removal, according to Dapcevich.
Photographer and biologist Robert Johnson said he was shocked by this. He went to pick it up after talking to neighbors who were passengers.
“It was strange, especially the first in Alaska,” Johnson told CNN. “I’ve been working with bears for a very long time here.”
In 1987, another unexpected collision took place between a wild animal and an Alaska Airlines flight – but the plane crashed into a fish.
Alaska Airlines flight was leaving Juneau when a large fish hit a Boeing 737-200 plane behind a house window. An eagle that swooped down and flew over would catch the fish.
“By doing this, the eagle can release its food freely or come out forcefully free of claws,” Alaska Airlines pilot Captain Mac af Uhr wrote in a 2005 report on this, according to a report in Alaska Airlines.
Dapcevich said he would soon say what he could do to avoid future tragedies like a bear.