Being a passenger on an airplane can be enough to make a person nervous but hitting an animal on a runway is likely not high on one's list of concerns. But that is exactly what happened in Yakutat, Alaska on November 14, 2020.
The Boeing 737-700, an Alaska Airlines flight, struck a brown bear sow killing the bear. Fortunately the cub, believed to be about 2 years old survived, uninjured. No crew or passengers were injured, however it did cause damage to the plane.
Airport crewmembers had followed the correct protocol, making sure the runway was clear about 10 minutes before the plane landed. Unfortunately the bear and her cub wandered onto the runway right as the plane was landing. Normally employees use pyrotechnics or vehicles to chase away wildlife when they encounter it.
Alaskan flights have previously been reported to hit geese, caribou, and other animals but this is believed to be the first reported incident of a plane striking a bear.
Although a sad outcome for the bear, it certainly gives credence to a brown bear's power and girth as they can even cause damage to a significantly sized airplane.