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An American Airlines regional jet was forced to make an emergency landing after striking a deer during its takeoff roll on a runway at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) today around noon. The plane was headed to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT) with 44 passengers and four crew members on board.

After the flight crew declared an emergency, the plane performed a flyover so airport personnel on the ground could check for damage that would endanger the plane during landing. The aircraft was allegedly trailing some sort of vapor from its right wing, but was able to land safely and all on board were evacuated safely.

Upon landing, it was determined that the mysterious vapor leaking from the CRJ-700 was indeed jet fuel, so it was sprayed with flame retardant and then then towed off the runway, allowing it to reopen to other traffic about two hours after the strike. The airport is planning to investigate how the deer was able to get around the almost 20 miles of barbed wire-topped fencing surrounding the airport site.

Between 1990 and 2015, encounters between animals and airplanes have destroyed nearly 10 planes a year. Although the total number strikes in the US has increased dramatically according to the FAA, the number of damaging strikes has decreased, though dramatic instances (Sully, anyone?) has brought much attention to the issue.

H/T: The Charlotte Observer

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