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Plane returns to Raleigh-Durham airport after hitting coyote

Frank Schulenburg

An airplane departing from Raleigh-Durham International Airport returned to the airport shortly after takeoff when the flight crew reported striking a coyote on the runway.

Southwest Airlines Flight #1221 had been on its way to Chicago Midway International Airport on Tuesday but returned to the North Carolina airport about 8 p.m. for an inspection, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority said it landed safely without incident.

The flight crew had alerted the air traffic control tower of a potential wildlife strike during takeoff. Upon landing, the aircraft taxied to a nearby gate for a maintenance review, Southwest Airlines spokesperson Alyssa Foster said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The aircraft was later cleared to continue the journey to Chicago. Foster said 149 passengers and six crew members were on board, and no one was injured.

The FAA is continuing to investigate the incident.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
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