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Delta Airlines flight returns to JFK Airport after reported bird strike

A Delta Airlines flight forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport after reportedly striking a bird en route to the Bahamas on Wednesday is once again on its way.

The incident was first confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration, which said they will investigate. The Delta flight left the airport at around 9 a.m., but returned to the airport around 9:45 a.m. after the reported bird strike. 

Shortly before noon, Delta told CBS News that the aircraft was "currently en route" to the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau again after the aircraft was examined. 

There were 165 passengers aboard, plus two pilots and four flight attendants, Delta said. 

Delta said in a statement that the Boeing 737 "encountered birds following departure." It's not clear how many birds were involved in the incident or what kind of birds they were. 

"We apologize to our customers for the resulting delay in their travel plans," Delta said in a statement. 

According to the FAA, wildlife strikes with aircraft are increasing around the world. In the United States, there have been about 255,000 wildlife strikes reported from 1990 to 2021. The FAA estimates that in that window, wildlife strikes cost airlines about $900 million due to the damage done to aircraft. However, the agency said that losses could be as high as $500 million per year when accounting for the estimated number of unreported strikes and strikes where costs were not provided by the airlines. 

About a third of such incidents occur in the early stages of flight, when the plane is taking off or ascending, with another 61% taking place during the landing phases and just 3% occurring while the plane is in its "en route phase," the FAA said

While such strikes can cause injury to human passengers, it is rare: The FAA said that from 1990 to 2019, there were 327 injuries attributed to wildlife strikes on U.S. aircraft. From 1988 to 2019, there were 292 deaths reported globally. 

There were no fatalities in one of the most famous cases of wildlife strike — 2009's so-called Miracle on the Hudson, when a U.S. Airways flight was forced to land in the Hudson River after hitting a flock of Canada geese while taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport, which injured 95 of the 155 people on board. 

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