Flight diverted: Bird strike forces Jet Blue turnaround

Flight diverted: A Jet Blue flight from New York to Fort Myers, Fla., was diverted to JFK airport after a bird strike. No one was injured.

By , Associated Press

A JetBlue flight headed to Florida had to turn around after it struck a bird shortly after takeoff from an airport in New York City's suburbs.

The airline says a jet bound for Fort Myers hit the bird shortly after taking off from the Westchester County Airport in White Plains.

JetBlue says that in "an abundance of caution" the aircraft was diverted to nearby Kennedy Airport, where it landed safely at 8:25 a.m. Thursday.

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Passengers were put on another plane. They were expected to arrive in Florida about two hours late.

About 10,000 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported for USA civil aircraft in 2011, according to the US Bird Strike Committee. Commercial aviation aircraft engines are designed to keep flying even after ingesting a four-pound bird, however 36 species of birds in North America weigh more than this, according to the committee

Bird strikes over New York have been getting special attention since 2009, when Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, of Danville, Calif., calmly and deftly landed US Airways Flight 1549, an Airbus A320 jet, on New York's Hudson River after a flock of geese disabled the engines.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported, Sullenberger's choice of landing in the Hudson came after an exchange with air traffic control. He told them the engines were disabled and that he would not be able to make it back to LaGuardia or to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. "We'll be in the Hudson," he's heard telling air traffic controllers in audio released from the event.

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