American Eagle jet hits deer on takeoff, returns to airport

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Authorities say an American Eagle flight struck a deer while taking off from the Charlotte, North Carolina, international airport, forcing it to turn around and abort a flight to Gulfport, Mississippi.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the pilot of Flight 5320 declared an emergency shortly before noon Wednesday.

American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody said the aircraft was leaking fuel as a result of the deer strike. TV stations showed damage to one of the right front wing flaps of the CRJ700 jet, and emergency personnel sprayed foam on the aircraft as a precaution.

No injuries were reported. The 44 passengers aboard the flight deplaned by stairs onto the tarmac and were seen boarding buses to return to the terminal.