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Collision With Bird Leaves Large Hole in United Airlines Plane [PHOTOS]

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Aug 01, 2012 10:45 AM EDT

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A United Airlines flight hit a bird so hard that it ripped a hole in the nose of the plane.

As United Airlines Flight 1475 was descending while preparing to land Denver airport on Tuesday morning, it received some damage from what is believed to be caused by a collision with a bird. The Boeing 737 landed safely, but it was left with a large hole and dents in the front due to the bird strike, according to ABC. The hole was located at the jet's nose under the cockpit windows.

There were 151 people on board the plane that left from Dallas/ Fort Worth, but the strike did not result in any injuries.

Despite the severity of the damage, it occurred in a spot that doesn't severely affect the plane.

"It didn't affect the engines. It didn't affect the landing gear from coming down at all," Steve Cowell, an aviation expert and pilot told ABC. "Passengers probably wouldn't have felt anything, but the pilot certainly would have heard the smack of the bird on the nose."

The pilot said that the strike caused damage to the airplane's horizontal stabilizer and air speed indicator, but he was able to land the aircraft without a major problem.

Remains of the bird that was found near the damage will be sent to Washington to be examined by the Smithsonian Institution.Using their database of bird DNA, they will be able to determine what kind of bird caused the damage. Some experts believe the bird may have been a goose and there may have even been a group.

"If I were to put money on it, I would say it would be a large flocking bird such as a goose or a duck," said United States Department of Agriculture wildlife biologist Kendra Cross . "It could have been more than one bird? We don't know that. We've taken samples off of various parts of the plane that had impact, so we'll be able to determine if it's more than one bird or if it's just one bird."

The information will help figure out ways to keep birds away from airport areas to avoid further accidents and to keep the birds and planes safe.

The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the issue and the plane will be inspected. This is typically done after bird strikes.

To see images of the damage, watch the video below.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FKxblPavgF4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> 

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