YAKUTAT, Alaska – An Alaska Airlines plane struck a brown bear on landing early Saturday night, killing the animal and causing damage to the plane, officials said.
No passengers or crew members on board the plane were injured in the incident at Yakutat Airport in southeastern Alaska, reports The Anchorage Daily News.
A Boeing 737-700 kills a brown bear pig, but a small child, believed to be about 2 years old, is unharmed, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Works spokesman Sam Dapcevic said.
Airport crew members cleared the runway about 1
During the inspection, staff saw no signs of wildlife, but pilots spotted the two bears crossing the runway as the jet slowed after landing, Dapcevic said.
“The bow equipment missed the bears, but the captain felt a blow from the left side as the bears passed under the plane,” Alaska Airlines said in a statement.
The pilots saw the bear lying about 20 feet from the center of the runway while the plane was taxiing to a parking lot just before 6:30 p.m., the airline said.
It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on the flight. The plane took off from the city of Cordoba and had to stop in Juneau after leaving Yakutat.
The left hood of the plane’s engine is covered, and the plane remains in Yakutat on Sunday.
“Our maintenance technicians are working to repair the aircraft, which will take several days,” Alaska Airlines said.
The airport is partially closed with a fence. Employees receive annual training on wildlife hazards and use pyrotechnics or vehicles to drive away the animals, the newspaper said.
Earlier, planes reportedly hit deer, geese, caribou and other animals in Alaska, but Dapcevic said this was the first time he had known about a hit bear.
Crew members at Yakutat Airport cleared the carcass of a bear from the runway. The Alaska Ministry of Fish and Game is expected to collect the remains, Dapcevic said.