A Continental Airlines flight heading for Hong Kong struck a flock of geese Wednesday night, forcing the jet to return safely to Newark.
None of the 301 passengers and crew were hurt after Flight 99 landed at Newark at 8:15 p.m., nearly two hours into what would have been a 15-hour ride, said Julie King, a Continental Airlines spokeswoman.
The pilot of the Boeing 77 jet departed around 6:30 p.m. despite warnings of "migrant birds" in the area, said Ron Marsico, a spokesman for the Port Authority. Blood was found on the plane's nose and around the left-wing engine that hit the geese.
Continental provided meal vouchers and lodged many of the passengers at area hotels, King said. Many departed safely on a 9:45 a.m. flight to Hong Kong this morning.
The plane was supposed to depart at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, but it was delayed because the jet that was supposed to fly the 301 passengers and crew to Hong Kong was struck by lightning before arriving in Newark.
Passengers and crew had to wait three hours while a new plane was "swapped" in, King said.
"They had quite an adventure getting there," King said.
One passenger, Fran Craig, a former Maywood resident, said the passengers were "extremely" calm during their short ride because the pilot and crew reassured them that everything was OK.
"The fact that it didn't land on the water — that was a good thing," said Craig, who now lives in Lakewood. She departed for Hong Kong this morning.
The incident took place 14 months after a U.S. Airways jet, piloted by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, struck a flock of birds. The plane was forced to land safely in the Hudson River.
The Continental jet was transported to the airline's maintenance crews for further inspection and repair, King said.