A Delta Airlines flight from Heathrow Airport was forced to land an hour after taking off after it hit a bird shortly after taking off and started making a “very loud metallic sound”.
The New York-bound jet returned and landed safely at Heathrow after the suspected bird strike on Tuesday (September 13) morning.
Resident living underneath the plane's flight path in north Surrey and Hampshire reported hearing a strange sound overhead as the aircraft approached.
Sunbury man John Cull was in his garden when he heard the plane making a “very loud metallic sound”.
Twitter users who had also heard the plane flying over described it as making a “very rough” sound, and “loud bang” and a shudder.
Mr Cull, a former airport manager, said: “I’m quite used to aircraft noise but this had a real metallic noise to it.
"I looked up and then looked on an online flight tracker and noticed it wasn’t gaining altitude. I don’t think it went above 3,500 feet.
"It stayed like that and was quite slow. It then started circling around.
“It was a bit strange. Normally when an aircraft goes over the sound changes, but when this went over I couldn’t hear it.”
The plane circled over Sandhurst and Crowthorne before returning to Heathrow from the west.
'Aircraft sounded terrible'
Mr Cull added: “It has been shown on a number of aircraft website that the aircraft was hit by a large bird on take-off causing the crew to shut down one of the two engines.
“A friend of mine was on duty at Terminal 4 when the Delta flight took off this morning. He said they all stopped working to look because the aircraft sounded terrible.”
A spokesman for Delta Airlines said: “Today’s Delta Air Lines flight DL1 from London-Heathrow to New York-JFK safely returned to Heathrow airport shortly after take-off due to a suspected bird-strike.
“The aircraft landed safely and passengers deplaned normally via stairs. Passengers will be given refreshments and re-accommodated on Delta flight DL3 from London-Heathrow to New York-JFK departing at 5.10pm local time.
“The safety and security of Delta’s passengers and crew is our number one priority.”