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Bird strike forces plane to return to Seattle airport

Alaska Airlines Q400
Alaska Airlines Q400

(Reuters) - The pilot of an Alaska Airlines plane was forced to turn back to a Seattle airport soon after takeoff on Friday because the twin-engine propeller aircraft struck a large bird that pierced its aluminum nose, an airline official said.

The bird strike left a medium-sized hole in the nose of the Bombardier Q400 plane, which had just taken off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport en route to Bozeman, Montana, said Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy.

"The bird just stuck inside the hole," McElroy said. He said he did not know what type of bird it was.

After striking the animal, the plane's pilot immediately circled back to the airport and landed safely, McElroy said.

No one was injured in the incident, and the 65 passengers on board were transferred to another aircraft to complete their journey, McElroy said.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney in San Francisco, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Lisa Shumaker)