Passenger plane strikes and kills bear while landing

Mighty brown bear (Ursus arctos) in winter.

An Alaska Airlines flight collided with and killed a brown bear upon landing at Yakutat Airport over the weekend.

Flight 66 was arriving from Colorado when two bears were spotted crossing the runway by cabin crew, Alaska Airlines said in a statement.

“The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” the airline said.

Pilots then reportedly saw the bear lying “about 20 feet” from the middle of the runway while taxiing the aircraft.

Image: RE Johnson via Alaska Public Media

The flight was carrying six passengers and no injuries were recorded.

The plane was largely undamaged aside from some dents to its left engine cowl, which is being repaired by maintenance technicians.

Sam Dapcevich, a public information officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, told CNN the incident was a “rare occurrence”.

“I’ve been in Alaska my whole life and we’ve had aircraft strike birds and other animals … but this is the first instance of a bear that I’ve ever heard of,” he said.

Dapcevich said the airport’s operations crew are trained to use pyrotechnics and vehicles to prevent animals from coming near the runway or interfering with aircraft.

Featured image source: iStock/Andyworks

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