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2 United Airlines flights departing from Houston reported midair bird strikes within 20 minutes of each other

<i>Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/AP/File</i><br/>United Airlines planes are seen in this file photo at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on September 22
Associated Press
Reginald Mathalone/NurPhoto/AP/File
United Airlines planes are seen in this file photo at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on September 22

By Michelle Watson, Pete Muntean and Chris Boyette, CNN

Two United Airlines flights departing from Houston Tuesday night reported bird strikes, prompting both flights to return to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to United.

United Airlines flight 847 headed to Santiago, Chile, “reported an object struck the right wing around 8:50 p.m.,” CT Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration saidthe Federal Aviation Administration said. And just 20 minutes later, on United Airlines Flight 2086, headed to Las Vegas, “the crew reported a possible bird strike around 9:10 p.m.,” the FAA said.

“On Tuesday evening, April 25, two separate flights departing George Bush Intercontinental Airport returned to the airport due to bird strikes. Both flights landed safely, and we reaccommodated our customers on other aircraft,” United said in a statement.

Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst, said Monday’s uptick of bird strikes in particular, “match” the uptick in “the bird population.” While there were 17,000 bird strikes last year, according to Schiavo, “Usually people don’t get hurt, and pilots know what to do, they put the engine out … and return to the airport.”

This year alone there have already been about 2,000 bird strikes, and 85% of these strikes involve commercial airliners, according to FAA statistics. And while most bird strikes are waterfowl, occasionally birds like eagles will pop up.

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