Plane Leaving Sacramento Hits Bird, Returns to Airport

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A plane headed to Chicago was rerouted back to Sacramento International Airport after hitting a bird moments after take-off.

"I was right above the engine that went out, I could see pops of yellow and started smelling smoke," Bob Lingerfelt, a passenger onboard, said.

United flight 1596 departed from Sacramento around 6:19 a.m. on Friday. It is reported the plane hit the bird during the first ten minutes in the air.

"We immediately dropped (in altitude) and then people just started screaming 'fire, fire fire'," Michelle Belmonte said.

The Sacramento Fire Department was on scene when the plane returned to the runway, and said the plane landed safely.

The plane was destined for Chicago O’Hare International Airport, with a layover in Denver.

No other flights have been delayed.

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