Bird Strike Forces Southwest Emergency Landing Day After Fatal Engine Explosion

A Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after it struck a bird mid-flight.

The pilot of Southwest Airlines Flight 577 from Nashville, Tennessee to Phoenix, Arizona declared an emergency shortly after taking off at 5:13 a.m. Wednesday after the airplane struck a bird. The flight was diverted back to Nashville International Airport, where it made a safe landing.

"We've confirmed flight 577 departing Nashville (BNA) experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff," the airline told CBS News in a statement. "The Captain in command safely returned the flight to BNA. The aircraft will be taken out of service for maintenance review. Our local Nashville Employees are working diligently to accommodate those passengers on to their destination."

No injuries were reported in the incident, which came just a day after another Southwest plane's engine exploded during a flight, killing one passenger.

Married mother-of-three, Jennifer Riordan, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, died after the left engine of Flight 1380 exploded in midair around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The plane had been traveling from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Dallas, Texas when an engine exploded, shattering a window and causing a woman on the flight, believed to have been Riordan, to be partially drawn out of the window, according to passengers.

"All of a sudden, we heard an explosion and I come to find out that the engine exploded on the left side of the plane," Marty Martinez, who was on the flight, told reporters. "That explosion caused one of the windows to explode in row 17 of the plane, which was just two aisles over from me."

"I thought I was cataloging the last moments of my existence," Martinez continued. "It was absolutely terrifying."

The pilot had to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Shortly after the landing, the Philadelphia airport tweeted out, "FAA has issued ground stop for planes on the ground at other airports waiting to depart for PHL. Check flight status with your airline. Flights are departing PHL. Passengers should expect delays."

Riordan was taken to a hospital following the landing, and seven other passengers were treated for minor injuries.


"On behalf of the Southwest family, I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer," Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said in a video message posted to YouTube. "They are our immediate and primary concern and we Weill do all that we can to support them during this difficult time."

Riordan's death marks the first fatality involving a U.S. airline since 2009.