Utah Jazz Charter Flight Forced To Land After Hitting Birds

Mar 30, 2021, 2:32 PM | Updated: 8:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Officials with the Salt Lake City International Airport said a Delta flight carrying members of the Utah Jazz was forced to return to the airport shortly after takeoff when the aircraft struck a flock of birds.

Airport spokesperson Nancy Volmer said the plane landed safely Tuesday afternoon, and KSL Sports’ Ben Anderson confirmed the flight was the Jazz’s charter flight to Memphis.

Exclusive footage from Chopper 5 shows what appeared to be damage to the plane’s left engine.

Exclusive footage of the Utah Jazz's charter flight landing in SLC. (Chopper 5/KSL-TV) Exclusive footage of the Utah Jazz's charter flight landing in SLC. (Chopper 5/KSL-TV) Exclusive footage of the Utah Jazz's charter flight landing in SLC. (Chopper 5/KSL-TV) Exclusive footage of the Utah Jazz's charter flight landing in SLC. (Chopper 5/KSL-TV) Exclusive footage of the Utah Jazz's charter flight landing in SLC. (Chopper 5/KSL-TV)

The Jazz currently own the best record in the NBA at 35-11. The team’s flight was rescheduled for Tuesday night, and no changes to the NBA schedule have been announced by the league.

The Jazz were scheduled to play the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“The end result of all of this is the same regardless of what it was — so the aircraft landed without incident, it taxied back to its original location and we will work to get another aircraft in there to get them to their ultimate destination,” Delta spokesperson Anthony Black said.

Bird strikes are considered rare, but they do happen from time to time at Salt Lake City International because the airport is along the path of migratory birds.

Tuesday’s incident was the fifth at SLC this year involving a larger plane with a Class D Turbofan engine, according to an FAA website that tracks bird strikes, and the 11th overall strike.

Larger airlines such as Delta, United and American use aircraft with Class D engines.

There were 62 total strikes in 2020 and 106 in 2019.

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Utah Jazz Charter Flight Forced To Land After Hitting Birds