Last night, an American Airlines plane went through a terrible hail storm that resulted in an emergency landing. Flight 1897 was on its way from San Antonio to Phoenix, but had to land at El Paso International Airport due to “damage sustained by weather.” One passenger said it was “the scariest flight of my life.”
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According to people on the flight, many on board got sick, and some objects were dislodged and flying around the cabin. The turbulence was so bad the pilots had no choice but to take the plane down. One said to Air Traffic Control, "The hail has beat up our forward windshields pretty badly … we don’t have a whole lot of forward visibility." A passenger, Jesus Esparza, first noticed lighting strikes outside the window as hail fell heavily and the plane dropped “like a rollercoaster.” Thankfully, no one was injured during the harrowing experience, but the same cannot be said for the plane.
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Once it was on the ground, a maintenance team evaluated the damage. The Airbus A319’s nose and windshield took the brunt of the damage, but a full report has yet to be released. A spokesperson for the airline released a statement saying, “The aircraft is currently being evaluated by our maintenance team. We never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and we are sorry for the trouble this caused.”
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As frustrating as delays can be, a lot of the time they’re due to things far less extreme than a potentially deadly hail storm, so surely the passengers are just grateful to have made it through unharmed. And, according to American Airlines officials, they were all able to resume their trip to Phoenix on another plane within a few hours.