American Airlines flight makes emergency landing due to hail
An American Airlines flight from San Antonio to Phoenix on Sunday, June 3, saw a frightening flight as their plane hit a hailstorm 34,000 feet over south central New Mexico. In the end, this plane decided to make an emergency landing in El Paso – apparently using the onboard instrumentation and a side window of the cockpit to land, as the golf ball crashed against the windshield for hail the size of a tennis ball. All 130 passengers were unharmed, although they were shaken by the experience. American Airlines has issued the following statement to KSAT.
American Airlines Flight 1897, from San Antonio to Phoenix, diverted to El Paso due to weather damage during the flight. The aircraft, an Airbus A319, with 130 passengers and five crew on board, landed safely at 8 :03pm GMT. The aircraft is currently being evaluated by our maintenance team. We never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.”
According to the National Weather Service, there were a wide range of thunderstorms — including severe weather — across West Texas and New Mexico during the afternoon and evening. This meant that a normal jet-set route along Interstate 10 through West Texas was not an option. Instead, air traffic control routed traffic over western Odessa, Texas, to Carlsbad, New Mexico, near El Capitan, New Mexico. Unfortunately, this is where the real problem started.
Passengers reported disturbances that shook the entire plane, causing it to fall hard while their things were flying. The plane needed assistance with an emergency landing, as the pilots could not see the damaged windshield. Passengers expressed that they did not know the actual extent of the damage until they were able to get off the plane.
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