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Bird strikes Alaska Airlines plane

By Greg Morrison, CNN
  • The plane is struck above the windshield
  • It returns to the Los Angeles airport safely
  • Air Travel

(CNN) -- A bird struck the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines plane but the aircraft managed to land safely, officials said early Tuesday morning.

The bird hit the plane above the windshield shortly after it took off Monday evening from Los Angeles International Airport en route to Vancouver, British Columbia, said Mike Fergus of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane was 1.5 miles off the runway, Fergus said.

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The plane, Flight 707 with 159 passengers, returned safely to the airport for an inspection, said airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan.

According to data released by the FAA, incidences of birds hitting planes have gone up in recent years.

Last year officials said a migrating flock of Canada geese caused US Airways Flight 1549 to ditch in New York's Hudson River. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles safely guided that plane to an emergency landing.

CNN's Sonya Hamasaki contributed to this report.