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Southwest flight returns to Manchester airport after bird strike

MANCHESTER - A Southwest Airlines flight was forced to make an unexpected landing at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport shortly after takeoff today, after hitting a flock of birds.

According to airport spokesman Tom Malafronte, Southwest flight 4055 had departed Manchester at 8:46 a.m., headed to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, when it struck a group of birds in mid-air. The crew called in the bird strike to Manchester flight controllers shortly after takeoff, and returned to land.

"Southwest elected to take the aircraft out of service as a precautionary measure so an appropriate inspection could be completed," said Malafronte. "This was a rare and unfortunate incident but safety always has to take priority."

Southwest deplaned all 142 passengers, who were then boarded onto another aircraft for the flight to BWI. There were no injuries reported.

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