Plane left ruined after horror flight
DRAMATIC pictures show the extent of damage to an American Airlines flight after a terrifying hailstorm battered the nose of the aircraft and shattered the windscreen.
The stormy Arizona-bound flight left its 130 passengers crying and vomiting before it made an emergency landing in El Paso, Texas, The Sun reported.
Flight 1897 suffered horrific damage after it was struck by a hailstorm after it left San Antonio, Texas shortly before 7pm local time.
One passenger on the flight named Ezra took to Twitter to share his experience of the flight, saying: "Things were flying. Passengers throwing up. Scariest flight of my life."
Another passenger, Jesus Esparza, told KENS 5 they saw lightening outside their windows mid-flight as the terrifying experience began.
And another person on board managed to take photos of the damaged aircraft.
"I keep looking back at the photos and getting chills," they told ABC15.
The passenger added the journey started smoothly but the turbulence became "really bad" 30 minutes into the flight.
At one point the plane is said to have dropped "like a rollercoaster".
"I could see people starting to panic and crying and I couldn't breathe," she said.
She described seeing mobile phones flying in the air, drinks splashing on the ceiling, and people sharing airsick bags.
In audio recordings from air traffic control, the pilots reported they had "virtually no forward visibility" amid the heavy hail, according to ABC News.
But they said they could see through a side window and miraculously managed to land the plane safely in El Paso.
American Airlines confirmed the incident in a statement to The Sun Online.
"On June 3, American Airlines flight 1897, from San Antonio to Phoenix, diverted to El Paso due to damage sustained by weather in flight," the statement read.
"We commend the great work of our pilots, along with our flight attendants, who safely landed the Airbus A319 at 8.03pm.
"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."
American Airlines said the flight was in the air for a total of two hours and six minutes and no injuries were reported.
The passengers resumed their trip to Phoenix later that night.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.