PHOTO: Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. (Photo via Flickr/Ken Lund)
On Wednesday, a plane departing from a North Carolina airport struck a deer as it took off, forcing the flight to make an emergency landing.
According to Fox News, PSA Airlines Flight 5320 was taking off from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport en route to Gulf Port, Mississippi, when the captain of the plane reported hitting a deer on Runway 36 Center.
The CRJ 700 aircraft was damaged in the incident and was forced to return to the Charlotte airport at around 12:15 p.m. local time after declaring an emergency. Officials from the airport closed the runway, but the rest of the facility remained open.
At the time of the incident, there were 44 passengers onboard, but there were no reported injuries. The passengers and crew members were evacuated from the plane following its safe landing and were transported by bus to the terminal.
Authorities from the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident. Airport workers were also dispatched to clean the runway due to the plane leaking fuel following the deer strike.
As wild as a plane hitting a deer sounds, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport has dealt with similar situations in the past. Since Jan. 1, 2015, there have been 245 documented wildlife strikes and another 941 wildlife strikes since Jan. 1, 2010. According to the FAA, most of the animals hit by planes were birds and coyotes.
The last documented deer strike at the Charlotte airport was on Oct. 15, 2010.