Hole in Plane Caused by Bullet: Sources

"This pilot has a heck of an eye," official says about discovery on jet that came from Philly.

A US Airways plane was grounded after a pilot making a pre-flight inspection found a hole in the fuselage.

Sources tell NBC Philadelphia that the hole was caused by a what appears to be a .40-caliber bullet. Sources also say that the the bullet was found lodged in the plane's sheet metal.

Authorities believe the plane was hit while beginning its descent into Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday from Philadelphia

The hole near the rear of the plane was discovered after it arrived in Charlotte. The airline said there were no apparent problems during the flight. Passengers who were going to be on the plane for its next flight were put on other flights, the airline said.

Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways Group Inc., said the airline called the FBI because “it looked like it could have been” a bullet hole.

“It's very small,” she said. “This pilot has a heck of an eye.”

Mohr said the hole in the Boeing 737 is being repaired and the plane will return to flying on Wednesday. The plane seats 144 people, although it wasn't clear how many were on the flight from Philadelphia on Monday.

Transportation Safety Administration spokesman Jon Allen said his agency is cooperating with the FBI investigation.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Tuesday that her agency also will ensure the aircraft is airworthy before it’s put back in service, although that doesn't mean an FAA inspector will physically check the plane, she said.

“The airline has the mechanics. They have the manuals. They have skills and capability and authority to do those repairs. They do the required record keeping and then we can inspect that if necessary,” she said.

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