An American Airlines 737 departing John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana at approximately 7:30 this morning was involved in a serious incident after the jet had a 'bird strike' during take-off and declared an emergency while in-flight over Newport Beach, CA.
According to a resident in the area who lives just under the take-off flight path, extremely loud bangs and unusually loud sounds were heard from the ground as the jet took off over Newport Beach's Upper Back Bay.
Due to rain and a winter storm rolling through the area, a low cloud ceilng kept any view of the plane from the ground hidden as the American Airlines jet flew inside the clouds.
One resident who heard the commotion described hearing "really loud banging and popping exploding noises and everybody was coming out of their houses to see what was going on".
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed the emergency incident after being contacted by The Enterprise Report as it was unfolding.
Gregor told TER "American 634, a Boeing 737 from SNA to DFW, declared an emergency due to
a reported bird strike while departing from SNA and is diverting to
LAX. ETA 8 a.m."
As the flight headed north to LAX to make an emergency landing the exact nature and extent of damage to the aircraft was still unknown.
FAA spokesman Gregor confirmed the airplane's right side #2 engine was where the problem had occurred. According to the FAA the flight "landed without incident at LAX at 7:49"
The full extent of the in-flight emergency is not yet known. A response from American Airlines to the incident was not yet available.