RDU works to ensure animals and aircraft don't meet

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What's RDU's strategy for avoiding aircraft strikes with wildlife? Elaina Athans reports.

RDU officials are explaining what safety measures are in place to block wildlife from entering the air field as the FAA investigates an incident that happened Wednesday in Charlotte.

An American Eagle flight struck a deer while taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The plane suffered wing damage and was forced to turn around.


A commercial pilot, with 35 years of experience in the sky, told ABC11 it is rare for a plane to collide with a deer, but not impossible.

RDU officials agree.

"They could get through," said spokesperson Andrew Sawyer.

Wildlife has affected travel at the airport in the past. Raleigh-Durham International Airport sits next to undeveloped land and Umstead State Park.

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

ABC11 pulled FAA data and found there have been almost 500 air strikes in the past 25 years.

Birds, coyotes, and deer have made their way through fencing and onto the air field.

There is robust fencing around the airport's perimeter. And officials have laid down traps in the past to catch coyotes. ABC11 is told staff will be canvassing the airport's perimeter three times a days.

RDU's wildlife plan is reviewed by the FAA.

"Obviously we can't control nature but what we can do is ensure that we have taken responsible protections," Sawyer said.

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