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American Airlines Plane Forced To Return To JFK After Bird Strike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A plane was forced to return to John F. Kennedy Airport Tuesday morning after the pilot reported hitting a flock of birds.

It happened just after 8:30 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 1320 "came in contact" with several geese shortly after takeoff, the airline said in a statement.

In an air traffic control recording archived on the website, the pilot is heard reporting the bird strike.

"We might have to go back. We had a bird strike on takeoff," the pilot says.

"Let me know what I can do to help you guys out," an air traffic controller responds.

The pilot then declares an emergency and asks to return to the airport.

American Airlines Plane Forced To Return To JFK After Bird Strike

"Departure American 1320 has declared an emergency and we'd like to return to JFK," the pilot says.

Other flights can also be heard reporting birds in the area at the time of the incident.

"We just passed another flock at 2,000 feet right off the shoreline," the pilot of a JetBlue flight can be heard saying.

The plane, which was bound for St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands with 134 people on board, landed safely back at the airport, officials said.

An American Airlines spokesperson praised the crew and said intense training and skill made this "a non-event."

"Our pilots are well-trained to handle incidents such as these," American Airlines said in a statement.

The birds that hit the plane left no visible damage, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported. After a maintenance inspection, the airline said the plane was taken out of service.

An Airline spokesperson said all of the passengers opted to continue the journey despite the scare and the delay.

Following a plane change, the flight took off six hour later, Carlin reported.

Air travelers said bird strikes are a concern because of the amount of flocks that exist in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

"It's another thing they have to be cautious of. I can't imagine, being a pilot, their job is hard," said Portland, Oregon resident Nick Landreth.

"They should get rid of them," said Patchogue resident Ruth Rockwell. "They shouldn't have them there in the first place, that's how I feel."

But attempts to control birds, including blasting them with loud noises, have had mixed results, and others said they wouldn't even think about getting rid of the birds.

"We're all on this planet together, we have to learn how to live together," one woman told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

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