Bird Strike Forces Southwest Airlines to Ground Nashville Flight Just One Day After Engine Failure Accident

A bird strike forced a Southwest Airlines plane to make a quick landing at a Nashville airport shortly after takeoff on Wednesday. The event comes less than 24 hours after a woman was killed after being partially sucked out of a shattered plane window on a Southwest flight.

Bound for Phoenix, the plane took off from Nashville International Airport at around 5 a.m. local time. Within 30 minutes, the plane was making a quick turnaround.

"We've confirmed Flight 577 departing Nashville experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff," Southwest Airlines said in a statement. "The Captain in command safely returned the flight."

The airline added that the plane had been taken out of service for maintenance review, and that it was working with passengers to find alternate travel arrangements.

When a plane collides with a bird, it could have disastrous consequences. Captain Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III was forced to land a commercial plane in the Hudson River in 2009 after a collision with a flock of geese caused engine failure. That case inspired the film Sully and was quickly dubbed the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Investigators are still looking into the engine failure issue on Tuesday's Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 in which one woman, later identified as Jennifer Riordan, died after she was "partially sucked out" of the plane's shattered window. Based on witness testimony, authorities are currently working under the assumption that a piece from the broken plane engine flew into the window, causing it to shatter, and hitting the woman. The National Transportation Safety Board said a preliminary look showed one of the fan blades missing.

The airline has expressed its "deep sympathies" to the family of the victim in a statement and noted that it had activated its emergency response team.

"We are deeply saddened to confirm that there is one fatality resulting from this accident," the airline said. "The entire Southwest Airlines Family is devastated and extends its deepest heartfelt sympathy to the customers, employees, family members, and loved ones affected by this tragic event."

Southwest
A Southwest Airlines plane had to return to the airport on Tuesday after a collision with birds. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Bird Strike Forces Southwest Airlines to Ground Nashville Flight Just One Day After Engine Failure Accident | U.S.