TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An EVA Airlines flight that was en route from San Francisco to Taipei was damaged after it collided with a bird shortly after departing San Francisco International Airport in the early morning of Nov. 25 (California time).
The 777-300 Boeing flight, carrying 187 people had barely taken off and was still ascending when it was struck, forcing the plane to return to the airport.
One witness was quoted by media as saying they heard a loud noise shortly after the plane was in the air. They reported a bright flash and faint smell of something burning.
According to media reports, EVA Air Flight No. BR27, vessel No. B-16736 sent a distress signal to air traffic control at 00:14 a.m. (4:14 p.m. Taipei time) stating that the left engine had been struck and was compromised.
The plane continued to climb, reaching an altitude of 6000 ft., when the captain calmly announced the engine had been damaged, and the flight would have to turn around.
In accordance with safety procedure, the flight dumped the damaged engine’s fuel as it made its way back towards San Francisco.
From take-off to its return landing, the plane was only in the air for about 50 minutes. A statement from EVA said that it was a very large bird that struck the engine of the aircraft.
Early reports suggested that the captain had declared “Mayday” to air traffic controllers suggesting imminent danger for the aircraft and those on board.
However, according to Liberty Times, EVA Airlines later clarified the situation stating that after the collision had occurred, that the captain calmly performed relevant equipment checks, and followed basic safety protocol to ensure the safety of passengers on the plane.
All 187 passengers were safely returned to San Francisco and routed to other flights to get them to Taipei.