BURLINGTON -- Officials are concerned about wildlife at the Burlington Alamance Regional Airport.
"A deer ran across in front of the aircraft. The aircraft tried to fly to get above the deer. It did hit the deer which caused a fuel leak in the airplane. The airplane immediately landed with no incident but did lose approximately 150 gallons of jet fuel," said Dan Danieley, Burlington Alamance Regional Airport executive director.
That incident happened about two years ago but even more wildlife has moved onto the tarmac.
"I know of at least two coyote strikes with an aircraft and even just recently, I think maybe a week ago, I came in and saw buzzards and went out to investigate and saw a deer carcass laying on the side of the runway," said Danieley.
Pilots say an animal running onto the runway doesn't give them a lot of time to react.
"When you're racing across the field at 120 miles per hour, you don't want something to get hit or go into the engine, it could be catastrophic," said Aswin Santhanam, a pilot with S.A. Comunale.
A $2 million, two-year project is underway to put up a fence around the airport.
In addition to the 10 feet of fencing and barbed wire above ground, there's five feet of fencing underneath to deter animals from digging.
"So, due to the issue, we're finding a very serious need to eradicate the deer and coyotes now until the fence is completed," said Danieley.
The airport has asked city council to amend an ordinance and allow professionals to shoot the animals.
"We have people who are specially trained by the USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, for eradication of animals around airports, and the State of North Carolina Division of Aviation is working with these people," said Danieley.
The trained shooters will visit the airport twice this month, beginning next week.