Plane engine bursts into flames mid-air thanks to a 'flock of geese'

Plane engine bursts into flames mid-air thanks to a 'flock of geese'
Passenger records flames raging from American Airlines engine mid-flight

An American Airlines flight caught fire and was forced to return back to the airport after possibly striking a whole load of geese.

The Boeing 737-800, carrying 173 passengers and crew, had departed from Columbus to Phoenix on Sunday morning before a crew member reported the strike, the airline said.

"The flight landed normally and taxied safely to the gate under its own power," American Airlines said in a statement.

"The aircraft was taken out of service for maintenance and our team is working to get customers back on their way to PHX.

"Safety is our top priority and we thank our customers for their understanding," it added.

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John Glenn Columbus International Airport said in a statement posted on Twitter that emergency crews responded to the incident.

"Emergency crews responded to an aircraft incident at CMH this morning involving a reported engine fire.

"The aircraft landed safely and the airport is open and operational," it added.

A passenger on the plane told NBC News that she could hear "people on the plane crying" after the engine went up in flames.

"My heart just broke honestly for so many people on this plane, I could hear them crying and I just wanted us all to be okay."

Another passenger John Fisher told WCMH of Columbus that the birds made a sound.

“Apparently we struck a flock of geese and the engine started making real loud ‘clonk, clonk, clonk’ noises,” he said. “They eventually turned the engine off and turned around and went back to the airport.”

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