Mango B738 Returns to Cape Town after Being Impacted by a Pelican

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A Mango Boeing 737-800, registration ZS-SJD performing flight JE-348 from Cape Town to Durban (South Africa), was climbing out of Cape Town’s runway 01 when a pelican impacted the leading edge of the left hand horizontal stabilizer causing a large dent.

The aircraft continued the climb and reached FL330 about 130nm east of Cape Town, then the crew decided to return to Cape Town. The aircraft landed safely in Cape Town about 80 minutes after departure.