Oh Deer! Plane Hits Wildlife on Runway

US Airways jet hits a deer, runway shut for 40 minutes.

ByScott Mayerowitz and Matt Hosford
October 19, 2010, 5:20 PM

Oct. 19, 2010— -- A commercial jet plowed through a herd of deer shortly after landing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina the other day.

At least one of the deer was entangled in the right main landing gear, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were no injuries aboard the US Airways 737 which had just landed from Miami and was taxiing to the gate around 7:15 p.m. on Friday.

The runway -- named 36 Center -- was shut down for about 40 minutes for cleanup.

"There's a whole herd of deer," the pilot of flight 1950 told air traffic controllers. "It looked like a bunch of them. I don't know how many we hit."

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Another US Airways flight that had been cleared to land behind the Miami flight was told by air traffic controllers to cancel its approach and climb to 4,000 feet.

"Deer just got hit on the runway," one controller told that plane's pilot, according to a recording of the incident on liveatc.net.

The Miami flight safely taxiied to the gate.

Most major airports have animal control departments that work to keep deer, rabbits, geese and other animals away from their taxiways and runways. But animals are unpredictable and airports often have large areas to protect.

The most famous animal hit occurred in January 2009 when a US Airways flight from New York to Charlotte hit geese, lost power in both engines and glided to a landing in New York's Hudson River.

Nobody died in the so-called Miracle on the Hudson flight and the pilot, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger became an overnight celebrity and was hailed as a hero.

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