WASHINGTON (AP/CBS) — Vice President Mike Pence’s airplane struck a bird Tuesday upon takeoff from a New Hampshire airport, causing the pilot to return to the airport out of caution, the White House said.
Pence was returning to Washington from a campaign event at an airport hangar in nearby Gilford, New Hampshire.
NEW: Vice President Mike Pence makes unexpected landing back at Manchester airport after an apparent engine issue with Air Force 2. See the video of takeoff here, courtesy of Daniel Cerritos #WBZ pic.twitter.com/O8SPbgXuH2
— Kristina Rex (@KristinaRex) September 23, 2020
When Air Force Two took off from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, it struck a bird. A senior administration official, who wasn’t authorized to address the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the vice president and his entourage were in no danger.
Witnesses who were watching said it was obvious something was wrong from the sparks flying out of the engine.
“When I saw sparks I’m not going to lie I was a little worried for a second that the vice president could be in danger,” said witness Stefan Skalinski.
Video taken by Daniel Cerritos shows sparks flying out the right engine of Air Force Two.
Pence ended up flying home on a C17 cargo aircraft that the Secret Service uses to transport his vehicles during his travel.
ADM Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, tweeted a picture from inside the cargo plane, thanking the pilots for getting everyone to the ground safely.
Air Force 2 has a little different look tonight. Now in a C17 and happy for it! Thanks to the pilots and crew for getting us safely back on the ground. pic.twitter.com/N81N9MK8Ra
— ADM Brett P. Giroir (@HHS_ASH) September 23, 2020
Air Force Two was still at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport late Tuesday night.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)