Plane returns to Charlotte after hitting deer on takeoff

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An American Airlines flight had to return to Charlotte when it was damaged by a deer strike on the runway.

Authorities say an American Eagle flight struck a deer while taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, forcing it to turn around and abort a flight to Gulfport, Mississippi.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the pilot of Flight 5320 declared an emergency shortly before noon Wednesday.

American Airlines spokeswoman Katy Cody said the aircraft was leaking fuel as a result of the deer strike. TV stations showed damage to one of the right front wing flaps of the CRJ700 jet, and emergency personnel sprayed foam on the aircraft as a precaution.

Damage to the plane's wing taken by a passenger on the flight.

No injuries were reported. The 44 passengers aboard the flight deplaned by stairs onto the tarmac and were seen boarding buses to return to the terminal.

American Airlines said in a statement:

"American Airlines flight 5320, operated by PSA Airlines, hit a deer upon takeoff from Charlotte Douglas International Airport at approximately 12:15 p.m. It was a CRJ-700 with 44 passengers and 4 crew on board headed to Gulfport, Mississippi (GPT). The airplane came immediately back to the airport and landed safely. There was fuel leaking from the aircraft, so passengers deplaned on the runway and fire trucks did hose the plane down. The passengers have been bused back to the terminal and will get a new aircraft."

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