An un-ticketed bird trapped in the cockpit of a plane flying out of Detroit forced pilots to ground the flight out of “abundance of caution” Saturday.
The bird — described as small, perhaps a sparrow or a hummingbird — somehow got into the cockpit of the Delta plane Saturday, and crews spent more than an hour trying to find the bird on the plane without success.
The pilot, doing his routine checks, heard chirping in the cockpit and was overheard telling the gate attendant about it.
“He said, ‘In my 18 years of doing this, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this,'” passenger Shane Perry said, according to The Washington Post. “There’s a bird in the cockpit.”
As Perry and the other passengers boarded, the humorous incident turned into a significant inconvenience as maintenance crews searched for the bird. After the unsuccessful search, the pilot decided to take off anyway, Atlanta’s Fox 5 reports.
Perry remembered the pilot announcing “we’re going to take off, but if I hear any chirping in the cockpit, I’ll turn around.”
After some time in the air — Delta says it was shortly after takeoff, but others think it was close to an hour into the flight — the bird came out of hiding and the pilot turned around to “avoid a potential distraction.”
“Literally an hour into the flight, he goes, ‘I have an update that the bird is back and it’s going a little nuts in here in the cockpit and we do not feel safe continuing on this flight, so we’re going to go back to Detroit,'” passenger Brian Buonassissi told local Michigan outlet Click On Detroit.
Once on the ground in Detroit again, the maintenance crews finally captured the bird, which “was safely removed and set free,” according to a Delta spokesperson, and the flight resumed its trip to Atlanta without the stowaway.
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