Yakut, Alaska – A jetliner from Alaska Airlines killed a brown bear while disembarking Saturday evening, killing the animal and damaging the aircraft, officials said.
The Anchorage Daily News reported that no passengers or crew members of the plane were injured during the crash at Yakutat Airport in southeast Alaska.
The Boeing 737-700 sowed a brown bear, but a cub was believed to be about 2 years old, said Sam Dapciewicz, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
Dapsiewicz said the crew members of the airport had cleaned up about 10 minutes before the flight took off. The aircraft landed after dark and the crew followed normal procedures for the runway investigation.
Dapciewicz said crews did not notice signs of wildlife during the check-in, but the pilots saw two bears passing the runway as the jet slowed down after landing.
Alaska Airlines said in a statement, “The bear missed the gear in its nose gear, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bear passed under the plane.”
The airline said the pilots spotted the bear about 20 feet from the center of the runway, as the aircraft reached a parking area shortly before 6:30 pm.
It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on the flight. The plane departed from the city of Cordova and was scheduled to stop in Juno after Yakut departed.
The jet’s left engine cowling was damaged, and the aircraft remained in Yakutta on Sunday.
“Our maintenance technicians are working to repair the aircraft, which will take a few days,” Alaska Airlines said.
The airport is partially surrounded by fences. Employees undergo annual wildlife hazard training and watch herd animals use fireworks or vehicles, the newspaper reported.
Plans have previously been reported to kill deer, geese, caribou, and other animals in Alaska, but Dapsiewicz said this was the first time he was aware of a bear being killed.
The crew members at Yakut Airport cleaned the carcass of the bear from the runway. Dapsevich said the Alaska Department of Fish and Game was expected to collect the remains.