A southeastern Wisconsin family found what appears to be a piece of an airplane in their backyard.

"I was coming out with the laundry basket to hang my laundry, and I noticed ... a large, large piece of metal in my yard," Judy St. Clair told WISC-TV in Madison. "I thought, 'Oh, my goodness. That looks like an airplane wing.' But I thought, 'How can that be?"'

The two-foot-long chunk of metal tore through branches of the ash tree in her McFarland backyard.

St. Clair said she turned it over to McFarland authorities, who have alerted the Federal Aviation Administration.

WISC-TV confirmed with Northwest Airlines that after Flight 1449 from Detroit landed in Madison at 9:21 a.m. Wednesday, an inspection revealed that a missing inboard flap to fuselage fairing was missing. The DC-9's return flight to Detroit was grounded.

The airline released a statement and said it was investigating.

"The approximate 2-foot-long piece used to reduce drag was not a flight safety issue," airline spokesman Dean Breest said.

Northwest said it wants to make sure the part was from their plane before they comment further.

"It's not every day that you think about walking into your backyard and having things fall from the sky," St. Clair said.