"Just be advised that we hit birds here."
That's what a JetBlue pilot told an air traffic controller this morning when the plane, well, hit birds. A flight that departed from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. on the way to Florida experienced the bird strike around 9:30 a.m. Friday shortly after takeoff, at which point the pilot diverted the plane to Kennedy International Airport as a precautionary measure.
Westchester Airport Operations Supervisor Jeremy Nielson told reporters that the plane had only reached about 300 feet in altitude. The plane and all 142 travelers landed safely just before 10 a.m.
In fact, passengers on-board reportedly were not even aware that birds had hit the plane until the pilot announced it over the P.A. system. No injuries were reported (aside from the bird, of course). One passenger was quoted as saying that the pilot "felt bad for the bird," whose body was lodged in the nose of the aircraft upon landing.
"Not a pretty picture," another said when he walked away from the plane and saw the damage. The pilot of the plane told air traffic control that there appeared to be some damage to the plane's nose, specifically "part of the pressurization capsule."
Passengers were then given the option of booking another flight to their original destination of Palm Beach, Fla. or being rerouted back to Westchester. The Federal Aviation Administration will be handling an investigation and mechanics are giving the plane a once-over.