YAKUTAT, Alaska — In the struggle of plane versus bear, the bear loses.
A brown bear wandering across an Alaska runway had the misfortune of meeting an Alaska Airlines jet as it came in for landing over the weekend.
The bear was killed and the jet slightly damaged, but not one aboard the plane was hurt, officials said.
The mishap occurred on the airstrip in Yakutat early Saturday evening, when flight No. 66, a Boeing 737-700, came in for landing and encountered the bear, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Airport crew had cleared the runway about 10 minutes before the flight was expected to land and had checked for signs of wildlife but hadn’t seen the bear, the state’s Department of Transportation said.
But as the plane began to slow after landing, the pilots spotted two bears crossing the runway.
“The nose gear missed the bears, but the captain felt an impact on the left side after the bears passed under the plane,” a statement from Alaska Airlines said.
The plane struck and killed a brown bear sow, but its cub, thought to be about 2 years old, was uninjured.
The pilots saw the “bear lying about 20 feet off the center of the runway,” as the plane taxied to parking just before 6:30 p.m., according to the airline.
None of the passengers or crew members in the plane were injured. It was not immediately clear how many passengers were on the flight. The plane had departed from Cordova and was headed to the capital, Juneau, next.