A WestJet flight from Calgary to Victoria was forced to divert to Vancouver on Tuesday after striking a bird while in flight.
The collision caused visible damage to the aircraft’s nose.
Passenger Brad Weed said the aircraft was seconds away from touchdown in Victoria when it happened.
“All of a sudden that’s when I heard just a tremendous impact in the front of the plane. Then you heard these little ones in the back, and before you knew it we were just jetting straight back up,” he said.
“It was pretty harrowing, because we didn’t know, and it took about two minutes before the captain did get on the intercom … He just said he hit a flock of geese.”
Weed said a friend sitting on one side of the plane observed a bird trapped in one of the aircraft’s wing flaps, while passengers on the other side said they saw geese sucked into an engine, with flames and sparks shooting out.
“We really thought it was the end,” he said. “It was pretty harrowing.”
WestJet said it made the decision to divert flight 209 to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) due to maintenance resources available at the facility.
“The flight landed normally and the aircraft has subsequently been removed from service for required safety inspections,” said a WestJet spokesperson in an email.
The airline apologized for the delay and said it was moving the flight’s 31 passengers to other flights throughout the day.
There were no immediate reports of injuries due to the collision.