Alaska Airlines Flight 66 was arriving from Cordova into Yakutat when the flight crew noticed two bears crossing the runway, based on a press release by Alaska Airlines.
“The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” the airline’s assertion stated. Pilots then noticed a bear mendacity a number of toes off the middle of the runway whereas taxiing the Boeing 737-700 plane for parking.
The left engine cowl of the aircraft was broken within the collision and upkeep technicians are at the moment working to restore the plane. Six passengers had been on the flight on the time, however no accidents had been reported.
After being knowledgeable of the incident, airport upkeep and operations crews eliminated the bear’s carcass and introduced it to a storage warehouse, based on Sam Dapcevich, a public info officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was contacted to rearrange for correct disposal of the bear.
“It’s a rare occurrence for something like this to happen,” Dapcevich advised CNN. “I’ve been in Alaska my whole life and we’ve had aircraft strike birds and other animals … but this is the first instance of a bear that I’ve ever heard of.”
The airport is partially fenced. The airport’s operations crews are skilled by the US Department of Agriculture to make use of pyrotechnics and autos to discourage animals from coming close to the runway and interfering with plane operations, Dapcevich stated.
Crews had beforehand seen two bears within the space and believed them to be a feminine bear and a cub. On the day of the incident, crews had not seen any wildlife throughout snow removing operations, based on Dapcevich.
Local photographer and biologist Robert Johnson stated he was shocked by the incident. He went out to seize the scene after talking along with his neighbors who had been passengers on the flight.
“It was an unusual occurrence, actually a first in Alaska at least,” Johnson advised CNN. “I’ve worked with bears most of my adult life up here.”
In 1987, one other unlikely collision occurred between wildlife and an Alaska Airlines airplane — however that plane hit a fish.
An Alaska Airlines flight was departing from Juneau when a big fish hit the Boeing 737-200 plane simply behind the cockpit window. An eagle that had crossed paths with the flight had been gripping the fish in its talons.
Dapcevich stated it was too quickly to say what steps can be taken to stop a uncommon incident just like the bear collision from occurring sooner or later.