American Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Hail Storm Shatters Windshield, Crushes Nose

One passenger said the turbulence was so bad that people were sharing sick bags

American Airlines A319 taking off at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Photo: Charlotte, NC, USA - May 28, 2016: American Airlines Airbus A319 (Registration No. N723UW) taking off at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing after a bout of severe weather damaged the plane.

Flight 1897 from San Antonio, Texas, to Phoenix, Arizona, hit a serious hail storm about 70 minutes after taking off, partially crushing the nose and the windshield of the Airbus A319. The pilot diverted to El Paso International Airport, and all 130 passengers and 5 crew members arrived safely, according to KTXS12.

Photos posted on social media show the dangerous level of damage. The nose of the aircraft has been partially crushed, while the front windows appear to be entirely shattered.

KTXS12 reports that the pilot informed the tower over the radio that, “The hail has beat up our forward windshields pretty badly for American Airlines 1897. At this time, we don’t have a whole lot of forward visibility.”

An anonymous woman onboard the flight described the incident as “five minutes of hell,” to ABC 15 Arizona, recalling “scary” turbulence, flying cell phones and beverages, and passengers sharing air sick bags.

“I keep looking back on it and kind of getting chills,” she told the outlet. “We had no idea how bad it was until we landed.”

After arriving to El Paso, customers reportedly boarded another plane to Phoenix around 11:45 p.m., and American Airlines is now taking steps to review the plane.

“American Airlines flight 1897, from San Antonio to Phoenix, diverted to El Paso due to damage sustained by weather in flight,” the airline said in a statement to KENS5. “The aircraft, an Airbus A319 with 130 passengers and a crew of five, landed safely at 8:03 p.m. MT. 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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