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An American Airlines plane made an emergency landing after it struck a deer during takeoff

Danielle Muoio

An American Airlines plane had to make an emergency landing after striking a deer on the runway of Charlotte Douglas International airport on Wednesday.

Fuel began leaking from the plane directly after it hit the deer, resulting in an emergency landing, the Charlotte Observer first reported. 

American Airlines confirmed the report to Business Insider, stating that the flight immediately landed so the 44 passengers and 4 crew members could evacuate safely. The passengers deplaned on the runway and were taken back to the terminal while fire trucks hosed the plane down.

A Charlotte Douglas spokesperson told Business Insider that the runway was shut down while workers cleaned up, but that it reopened shortly after 2 p.m. ET.

"Large animal strikes are not common. However, the airport property includes thousands of fenced acres and includes vast areas of undeveloped land," the spokesperson said.

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