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Allegiant plane makes emergency landing at Orlando-Sanford airport

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© Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

By Lisa Maria Garza, Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO, Fla.

An Allegiant Airlines flight from Punta Gorda made an emergency landing Wednesday morning at Orlando-Sanford International Airport after a bird struck the engine during takeoff, according to airline officials.

No one was injured and the Milwaukee-bound plane landed safely, said airport spokeswoman Lauren Rowe.

Preliminary information by airport officials indicated concern over a tire possibly blown during takeoff was to blame for the emergency landing but Allegiant later clarified that Flight 1592 experienced a bird strike when it departed the Punta Gorda Airport.

"The aircraft diverted to Orlando Sanford International Airport out of caution and bird remains were found in an engine," said Allegiant spokeswoman Krysta Levy.

The Las Vegas-based, low-cost air carrier is the main airline at Orlando-Sanford International Airport and specializes in flying from smaller airports to vacation destinations.

Allegiant has garnered national attention after a series of safety mishaps, including mechanical issues that caused diverted flights or cancellations.

Earlier this month, the pilots union at Allegiant Air said it voted to authorize a strike over the airline's scheduling system that "disregards pilots' seniority and preferences."

The airline is also currently transitioning from an older fleet of McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 aircraft to all Airbus A320 planes.

But the switch hasn't been smooth so far as delivery problems with the new planes caused dozens of cancellations last month in Florida, including some at Orlando-Sanford International Airport.

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

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