BBC 🔵 Austrian Airlines plane suffers severe damage in hailstorm – Shango Media
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BBC 🔵 Austrian Airlines plane suffers severe damage in hailstorm

An Austrian Airlines plane has been seriously damaged, after it was caught up in an intense hailstorm during a flight on Sunday afternoon.

The aircraft, which was flying from Spain to the Austrian capital Vienna, was forced to issue a mayday call and land after hail smashed the cockpit widows and tore off the front nose cone.

Passengers said the flight rocked heavily throughout the ordeal, with one telling Austrian media that chunks of the destroyed nose cone could be seen flying past the plane.

In a statement to the BBC, Austrian Airlines said the incident occurred after the aircraft flew into a thunderstorm « which was not visible on the weather radar », adding that no passengers were injured in the saga.

Images shared online showed heavy damage to the exterior of the Airbus A320 aircraft, with the front nose cone almost entirely blown away.

Other photos appeared showed dense white cracks across the front windscreen.

Emmeley Oakley, a passenger on the flight, told ABC News that the plane was on its final approach into Vienna when it was suddenly rocked by the storm.

« I think we were about 20 minutes from landing when we got into a cloud of hail and thunderstorm, and the turbulence started, » she told the broadcaster.

She said passengers could « feel the hail » as it smashed into the plane, adding that the flight became « super rocky for a minute ». Several people screamed throughout the incident, Ms Oakley said. She praised the cabin crew – who she said « did a really good job calming those people down ».

Another passenger, identified only as Manuel H, told the Kronen-Zeitung newspaper: “I only realised afterwards that it was parts of the nose cone that I saw flying past.”

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the BBC that a technical team had been « tasked with assessing the specific damage to the aircraft ».

« As of now, the hail has damaged the two front cockpit windows, the aircraft nose (radome), and some coverings, » the spokesperson said.

The incident comes just weeks after a 73-year-old British man was killed during intense turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore.

The airline said it will pay $10,000 (ÂŁ7,800) to those who sustained minor injuries, in a Facebook post on Friday.

For passengers with more serious injuries, the airline is providing « an advance payment of $25,000 to address their immediate needs » and further discussions to meet « their specific circumstances ».

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