Utah Jazz plane bird strike was especially bad according to officials

Mar 31, 2021, 6:23 PM | Updated: Apr 1, 2021, 9:17 am

Utah jazz bird strike...

View from KSL Chopper 5 of a charter flight carrying the Utah Jazz landing in Salt Lake City. The plane had just taken off but had hit a bird and had to return. (Photo: KSL Chopper 5)

(Photo: KSL Chopper 5)

SALT LAKE CITY – Airport officials are giving more information about the bird strike that forced a charter jet with Utah Jazz players to make an emergency landing. Officials said bird strikes are quite common, but this one was especially dangerous.

Representatives with Salt Lake International said there were 163 wildlife strikes by the airport in 2020, which included birds and other animals like skunks. Out of all of those, only eight were severe enough to force the pilot to turn around. Most often, the pilot will take a look at the aircraft after they land, then determine if the damage is significant enough to need repairs.

Wildlife Program Operations Manager Candace Deavila said, “I would say 60 percent of the time… probably closer to 70 percent, the pilot doesn’t even know they hit a bird.”

Deavila said it’s especially rare for a bird strike to cause the kind of damage done to the Delta jet carrying Utah Jazz players, goring large holes in one of the engines. She reported they’re certain the plane hit at least four birds shortly after takeoff, and they were much larger than the average gulls.

“It’s going to be tough to say exactly how many, but based on the bird strike location on the aircraft there are definitely four different strike locations where it was not the same bird,” according to Deavila.

The job of the wildlife program is to clear animals away from the two miles surrounding the airport, which Deavila believes is especially tough since the airport is so close to wetlands and migratory bird paths. Their crews have to use many different techniques to scare the wildlife away. Some may seem more traditional.

“We have firearms. We use pyrotechnics. We use our car horns, lights and sirens on our truck,” she said.

However, there are times when they have to trap birds of prey like hawks or owls, then release them far away from the airport. They also have to clear away any kind of vegetation that birds may like to eat. This time of year, they’ll be especially busy searching for water foul nests to try and clear out any nesting birds.

Deavila said, “Ultimately, we want to try and modify the habitat so that the birds or animals don’t want to come.”



We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


2030 Olympics SALT LAKE CITY -- It's official, The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee endorsed S...

Sam Herrera

Gov. Cox “confident” about SLC Olympic bid after IOC meeting

The committee in charge of the SLC Olympic bid met with the IOC to give a final pitch that Gov. Spencer Cox says was well-received."

7 days ago

The Univesity of Utah placed women’s gymnastics head coach Tom Farden on a paid administrative le...


Utah Gymnastics coach Tom Farden placed on administrative leave

The Univesity of Utah placed women’s gymnastics head coach Tom Farden on a paid administrative leave effective immediately.

15 days ago

Three former New Mexico State University basketball players have been charged with sex crimes in a ...

Jason Hanna and Joe Sutton, CNN

3 former New Mexico State basketball players charged with sex crimes in case of alleged hazing

3 former New Mexico State University basketball players have been charged with felony sex crimes hazing allegations

17 days ago

Brigham Young University Cougars quarterback Kedon Slovis (10) catches a snap during a football gam...

Adam Small

It’s a football season-defining weekend for BYU and Utah Utes

BYU is up against Iowa State and Utah Football is trying to take down the undefeated Washington Huskies in Seattle.

17 days ago

Students protest outside the Utah High School Activities Association on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (Ad...

Adam Small

Pleasant Grove High students, parents protest football playoff decision

An ineligible player on the Skyridge team, in the quarterfinal football game against Pleasant Grove, is behind the uproar.

19 days ago

High school team takes field...

Sean Walker,

Skyridge football coach suspended, school fined for use of ineligible player

Coach Justin Hemm has been suspended two weeks and two games, and the program will be on a one-year probation.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

Utah Jazz plane bird strike was especially bad according to officials