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A United Airlines flight from Tampa (TPA) to San Francisco (SFO) had to turn around after hitting several birds mid-flight.

Passengers aboard United Flight 2051 reported hearing “several thumps” as the A320 aircraft — registration N453UA — collided with a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The flight path shows the plane took off at 8:00am, circled just outside the Tampa area for three hours until the aircraft was light enough to land. It then landed back at TPA at 11:00am.

Reports say several birds were recovered from the runway after the plane landed back at TPA.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates about 11,000 bird strikes happen per year at US airports.

Featured image by Robert Alexander / Getty Images.

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