CHICAGO
10/07/2013 12:44 pm ET | Updated Oct 07, 2013

Plane Bound For China Hits Flock Of Birds During Takeoff, Makes Emergency Landing At O'Hare

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Chicago was bustling with so much activity amid gorgeous fall weather, even the skies were crowded Sunday.

An American Airlines plane making its way toward Shanghai from Chicago O’Hare International Airport flew into a flock of birds after takeoff Sunday morning, forcing the pilot to return the plane to Chicago for an emergency landing, the Associated Press reports.

The captain of the Boeing 777 brought the plane back to Chicago "without incident" less than 25 minutes after takeoff, the Sun-Times reports. Fire crews and ambulances were called to the scene, but the plane landed safely with 237 passengers and 15 crew members on board.

An NBC Chicago investigation found that since the start of 2012, birds and other wildlife have collided with planes at both O'Hare and Midway airports more than 430 times. The investigation also found reports of wildlife strikes in the metro area have risen over the past 20 years.

While bird strikes usually do minimal -- if any -- damage, strikes have caused major damage or crashes (particularly during takeoff or landing) in previous incidents.

After the American Airlines plane was taken out for maintenance, the passengers boarded a different flight for Shanghai around 2:30 p.m.

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