The hole was found above a passenger window. It is not known what caused the puncture
The FBI has recovered a bullet from the rear right fuselage of a grounded US Airways flight.
The U.S. passenger plane was found with a 'bullet-sized' hole near a passenger window, it was revealed earlier today.
The pilot of the US Airways 737, which had flown from Philadelphia to Charlotte, North Carolina, found the small hole during pre-flight checks, prompting an FBI investigation.
It has not yet been confirmed that the hole on the exterior was caused by the bullet found in the fuselage but this is thought to be the most probable cause.
Based on preliminary analysis, the bullet likely travelled about three-quarters of a mile and was losing velocity when it struck the plane in a downward and front-to-back trajectory.
This has prompted speculation that the jet may have been hit by a falling stray bullet.
There is no evidence at this point the flight was targeted, according to CBS.
According to US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder: 'During a pre-flight inspection, one of our captains noticed a small hole in the fuselage.
'Safety is paramount, so we took that aircraft out of service and our maintenance team is investigating.'
Bloomberg news reported Michelle Mohr, an airline spokesman, saying: 'To us, it looked like it could potentially be a bullet hole.
'That’s why we involved the authorities immediately.'
Amy Thoreson, an FBI spokeswoman in Charlotte, added: 'The hole extended from the jet’s skin into the cabin.
'We have a lot of physical territory to cover before we can find out how it happened, where it happened and when it happened.'
Fred Mirgle, retired chairman of the aviation maintenance department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, said: 'Shots have been fired at U.S.
airliners in the past. It would be unusual for the crew or passengers not to notice if the plane were hit in flight.'
'It almost sounds like it was shot on the ground or close to it, if it was shot.
'Any difficulty with the 737’s auxiliary power unit, which provides electricity when the plane is at the gate and is in the rear of the jet, would have been noticed by the pilots and it’s not likely any pieces from an engine would have hit that area.'
Flight 1161 from Philadelphia landed without incident at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport at about 4 pm.
According to the US Airways the plane had 84 passengers on board and five crew members.
FBI Agents are now interviewing passengers and are talking to maintenance crews who serviced the plane Sunday.