ALERT American Eagle Embraer 145 hit a deer during take off from Williamsport Regional Airport, Pennsylvania

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An American Eagle jet with 43 passengers was forced to abort a takeoff Tuesday morning when it struck a deer at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville.

None of the passengers headed to Philadelphia was injured and they either were rebooked on a later flight or made other travel arrangements.

The 50-seat Embraer 145 twin-engine jet with a crew of three was headed down the runway shortly after 6 a.m. when its running gear struck a buck, airport Executive Director Thomas J. Hart said.

A visual inspection revealed only minor damage but the plane will be thoroughly checked at a maintenance facility before it is returned to service, an American Airlines spokeswoman said.

The deer, which was killed, must have jumped the perimeter fence, Hart said. It has been years since a deer was seen on the airport, he said.

American Eagle, formerly US Airways Express, is operated by Piedmont Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Airlines Group.

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