Passengers describe ‘terrifying moment’ after Miami-Bound United Airlines plane catches fire after bird strike

MIAMI – A United Airlines flight from Chicago to Miami had to return Friday to Chicago O’Hare International Airport when the aircraft struck a bird shortly after takeoff, the airline said.

United Airlines said in a statement that Flight 1930 returned safely to Chicago O’Hare International Airport “after experiencing a bird strike shortly after take-off.”

Local 10′s Joseph Ojo spoke with passengers that captured the scary moment from inside their plane.

“It was a bang, this ain’t right,” said Flight 1930 passenger Darick Rhodes.

United passenger Carly Franczak told Local 10 that you could hear the banging noise after the bird struck the plane.

“Big jolt, loud, crazy banging noise, up and down, went around and landed,” said Franczak. “Very crazy.”

Residents took video of the sparking engine and loud bangs.

Bird strikes have long been a major problem for commercial aviation.

The most famous incident happened in 2009 when a U.S. Airways pilot landed a plane that lost both engines due to a bird strike in the Hudson River in New York.

According to passengers, it was around 15 horrifying minutes before the plane was on the ground again.

Darick Rhodes: You’ve got to just chill, everyone’s gotta relax. Quit screaming. Let this pilot do his thing.

“It was a moment I will always remember, said Rhodes, “I’m glad we landed back in Chicago.”

The pilot was able to land safely and there were no reported injuries.

About the Authors:

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.