US Airways bullet: Who shot this plane?

Investigators are working to determine how a bullet became lodged in the exterior of a US Airways plane after it flew from Philadelphia to Charlotte, N.C.

Due to the size and trajectory of the bullet hole, authorities believe that someone on the ground fired a .40-caliber gun into the air, striking the plane while it made its approach, WCNC News in Charlotte reported yesterday.

It is unclear where the shooting occurred, since a spokeswoman for US Airways could not confirm if the plane received a preflight inspection prior to departure from Philadelphia. She did say that it should have been subjected to the same preflight procedure that was followed in Charlotte.

A pilot first noticed the nickel-sized hole, located toward the rear of the Boeing 737, on Monday afternoon while he was conducting a routine preflight inspection at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport before the plane departed again, said US Airways spokeswoman Liz Landau.

Charlotte’s airport is reportedly near a police shooting range, fueling speculation that a stray bullet from the range may be responsible for the damage.

The FBI was then called and investigators recovered a bullet from the side of the plane. It had pierced the fuselage, but did not reach the interior of the cabin.

No passengers were injured. The plane was taken out of service pending further investigation “out of an abundance of caution,” said Landau.

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