Tampa International Airport officials say a Southwest plane flying to Houston struck a flock of birds Wednesday, damaging the plane's left wing.
It happened around 11:30 a.m., four miles north of the airport. The aircraft returned to TIA, where passengers got onto other flights and left for their destinations.
Officials do not know what kind of bird it was. Feathers will be taken to the Smithsonian Institute for testing.
A TIA spokesperson says it is unusual for a bird strike to cause the amount of damage seen in Wednesday's incident.
The airport does have a bird mitigation program, but once a plane is airborne, there is not much they can do.
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