O’Hare news: United Flight 1930 hit birds shortly after taking off from the airport. Witness report of engine fire

Chicago (WLS) – Aviation officials said a plane hit a bird while taking off from O’Hare International Airport on Friday morning.

An FAA spokesperson said United Flight 1930 was bound for Miami when it hit the plane shortly after its departure. The flight then returned to the airport and landed without incident around 11:15 a.m.

“I looked out the window and saw the plane, and you could see the jet engine burning and the sound coming from it was very loud,” said witness Alison Duchen.

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Duchenne was working at Elmhurst when she said she heard popping and cracking sounds and saw flames coming from the left engine.

“Immediate panic and shock,” she said. “I couldn’t get to my phone to record anything because I couldn’t stop looking at it, trying to figure out where it was going or where it came from. It was so scary to see that.”

Chris McCullough lives south of the airport in Pensenville and has also seen an engine fire.

“We heard this bang,” McCullough said. “It shook the house.” “It was already firing golden flames, alternating second by second. One second there would be a flame going off, then a second where it wouldn’t, and then it would ignite again.”

United released a statement this afternoon saying:

“United 1930’s flight returned to Chicago after a bird strike shortly after take-off. The plane landed safely and passengers landed at the gate. We have assigned a new aircraft to this flight, and it is expected to depart soon.”

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Witnesses expressed their gratitude that the crew and passengers were safe.

“It was a shock to see something like this before, but I’m glad everyone on board is doing well,” Goshen said.

“Not only did they help those passengers, they helped the people on the ground when they got that plane back safely,” McCullough said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating the incident. Injuries have been reported.

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