'God help us': Passengers recall rough start to Gulfport flight

'God help us': Passengers recall rough start to Gulfport flight

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - People flying into Gulfport from Charlotte got a longer trip than expected on Wednesday when the American Airlines flight they were on hit a deer taking off forcing an emergency landing.

Passengers on the flight Gulfport noticed something a little out of the ordinary when the plane was taking off.

"Initially with takeoff there was a thump. I didn't think much of it, like, there's a pot hole here I guess," said Dr. Mary Zelenak.

Not long after, everyone learned it was more than a pot hole.

"We looked out the window and there was like a spray of I guess it was the fuel or something coming from the wing of the plane. I was like oh God help us," said Tammy Wilmoth.

After just a few minutes in the air, the plane was back on the ground. John Macaray of Los Angeles credits the airline staff for how they handled the adversity.

"It was pretty shocking because normally flights are very very smooth, but this one that was a tough one. That pilot was a champ, he did a great job and so did the crew and American Airlines," said Macaray.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to view a slideshow of photos of the damage

After being taken back to the terminal, passengers waited for another plane. The time on the flight that eventually made it to Gulfport gave those on board time to reflect.

"It happened so quickly that you don't really get scared until you look back and you see all the attention that it gets and you saw wow that could have been really bad," said Macaray.

Airport officials in Charlotte are looking into how a deer would have gotten through more than 19 miles of barbed wire topped fencing that surrounds the airport.

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