Skip to main content


American Airlines plane catches fire after hitting birds, makes emergency landing

The plane, which was en route to Phoenix, Arizona, hit a flock of geese, some of which flew into the engine and caused it to catch fire

American Airlines
American Airlines | Shutterstock

April 23, 2023 9:50pm

Updated: April 23, 2023 9:50pm

The engine of an American Airlines airplane caught fire on Sunday after it hit a flock of geese, prompting the pilots to make an emergency landing in Ohio. 

American Airlines Flight 1958 departed John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio at around 7:43 a.m. headed to Phoenix, Arizona. However, less than 30 minutes later, the plane was forced to turn back around, according to the tracking website FlightAware. 

video shared on social media captured from the ground shows the Boeing 737 returning to the Ohio airport with flames and smoke coming from its right engine. 

The pilots were successfully able to land the airplane and avoided any injuries. The passengers were taken off the plane and were scheduled for another flight later that same morning. 

"Emergency crews responded to an aircraft incident at CMH this morning involving a reported engine fire," the airport wrote in a tweet. "The aircraft landed safely and the airport is open and operational."

A passenger onboard the flight told NBC 4 that he heard a loud clanking noise at one moment in their flight. Soon after, the pilot addressed the passengers and told them that they had hit a flock of geese, some of which flew into the engine and caused it to catch fire.

“Apparently we struck a flock of geese and the engine started making real loud ‘clonk, clonk, clonk’ noises,” said passenger John Fisher. “They eventually turned the engine off and turned around and went back to the airport.”

The incident will be investigated by federal officials. 

The emergency landing caused only minor flight delays throughout the rest of the morning. The airport remained open and operational throughout the incident.