STOCKTON - Passengers found a disturbing sight waiting for them after their plane made an emergency landing.

"Just a bunch of feathers. That's all you could see is just this circle of feathers sitting right in the front of the engine," passenger Matt Gallagher said.

Allegiant Flight 527 was set to make a quick trip to Las Vegas from the Stockton Metro Airport,but passengers knew right away there was trouble.

"We had just got off the ground. You heard the landing gear come up, and then we heard a thump, and you kind of felt it, and then the plane started smelling like burnt feathers and burnt flesh of some sort," passenger Roy Stephens said.

"I was like what is that smell? What's going on, and I was like, please just make it there alive," passenger Casey Schrack added.

But aftersix hours on the ground, passengers' sense of relief soon turned to frustration.

"I think the airport should have more people out protecting this airway, so things like this doesn't happen again," passenger Austin Stoker said.

The Stockton Metro Airportinterim directorsaid they follow a strict maintenance routine, but there's no way to guarantee birds won't get close to engines.

In September, News10 reported on efforts to expand a nearby landfill that protestors worried could draw more scavenger birds closer to the airport. The interim director said this latest incident only reinforces why they would oppose any future efforts to expand the landfill.

"I would definitely do everything you could to keep a bird out of anywhere around an airport," Gallagher said."That's just extremely dangerous to have birds in an airport."

The airline will decide what repairs need to be made to this plane before it can fly again, but airport officials insist the incident won't interfere with other flights.

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