A Spirit Airlines flight from Atlantic City International Airport to Orlando was forced to return to ACY shortly after takeoff Tuesday when it hit a flock of birds, according to Townsquare Media news.

The Jewish world website matzav.com reports that Spirit Airline Flight 303 "was full of Orthodox Jews traveling from the tri-state area to Orlando" to celebrate Passover. 

The flight, with 179 passengers and crew on board, departed ACY just after 2pm.

According to a recording of an air traffic control conversation about the flight, the right flap of the Spirit Airbus sustained damage but no one on board was injured and a fire crew was not required.

A spokesman for Spirit Air told Townsquare Media the incident was routine and the flight finally departed again at 7 p.m.

Bird strikes are a real concern for the airline industry. According to the FAA, there have been 142,000 wildlife strikes (97 percent of which were the result of birds) with aircraft in the U.S. between 1990 and 2013, killing 25 people and injuring 279 more. Since 1988, at least 255 people have been killed as the result of bird strikes.

The European Space Agency estimates that bird/wildlife strikes around the world cost airlines over $1 billion a year.

The most famous aircraft accident resulting from a bird strike happened in January,  2009, when US Airways Flight 1549, piloted by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, experienced a dual engine failure after hitting a flock of birds and was forced to land in the Hudson River just minutes after departing from LaGuardia Airport. Sullenberger's quick thinking help save all 155 passengers on board.

Sources: Townsquare Media/matzav.com/FAA

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