Austrian plane suffers severe damage to nose and windshield flying through hailstorm

An Austrian Airlines flight on its way to Vienna suffered significant damage from an unexpected hailstorm on Sunday.

The aircraft, which was carrying 173 passengers and six crew, was on its way from Palma de Mallorca in Spain when it sustained damage to its nose, front cockpit windows and paneling.

“I think we were about 20 minutes from landing when we got into a cloud of hail and thunderstorm, and the turbulence started,” Emmeley Oakley, a passenger on the flight, told ABC News.

Those onboard could “feel the hail coming down on the plane and it was quite loud and (of course) super rocky for a minute,” she told the outlet via text message.

The pilot of the Airbus A320, managed to land safely, despite the severe damage to the aircraft that included heavily cracked front windows.

File image: Planes operated by Austrian Airlines sit on the tarmac at the airport in Vienna, on 28 March 2024 (APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Praising the pilots and cabin crew for their efforts in calming distressed passengers, Ms Oakley said: “The pilots really did an excellent job keeping things as smooth and safe as they could.”

The airline confirmed that no passenger was injured in the incident.

“Airbus A320 aircraft was damaged by hail on yesterday’s flight OS434 from Palma de Mallorca to Vienna,” Austrian Airlines said in a statement to CNN Monday.

“The aircraft was caught in a thunderstorm cell on approach to Vienna, which according to the cockpit crew was not visible on the weather radar.”

The airline says no passenger was injured in the incident (mediadrumimages / @exithamster)

“According to current information, the two front cockpit windows of the aircraft, the nose of the aircraft (the “radome”) and some paneling were damaged by the hail.”

The incident comes weeks after a Singapore Airlines flight carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew from London to Singapore ran into sudden turbulence leading to the death of a passenger, while dozens were left injured.

The Boeing 777 jet ran into sudden turbulence over the Irrawaddy basin on May 20, hurling people and items around the cabin. The plane diverted to Thailand.

A 73-year-old British man died of a suspected heart attack and dozens were hospitalized including those with spinal, brain and bone or organ injuries. Nineteen people remained hospitalized in Bangkok.

Singapore Airlines said on Tuesday it has offered $10,000 in compensation for passengers with minor injuries.

“For those who sustained more serious injuries from the incident, we have invited them to discuss a compensation offer to meet each of their specific circumstances when they feel well and ready to do so,” it said in a statement.

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