Austrian Airlines plane loses part of nose in midflight hailstorm

An Austrian Airlines plane landed safely in Vienna on Sunday after getting caught in a hailstorm that took off part of the aircraft’s nose and cracked the cockpit windows, according to airline officials and photos shared on social media.

In a series of social media posts, a representative with Austrian Airlines confirmed that flight OS434, an Airbus A320, was damaged when it hit a “thunderstorm cell” during a trip from Mallorca, Spain, to Vienna. Officials said the storm was not visible on the weather radar and that it prompted a mayday call from the plane.

Photos posted on social media showed the storm tore off a portion of the plane’s nose radome, exposing its radar antenna, Bloomberg News reported. The hail riddled the cockpit windows with cracks and damaged some panels, airline officials said.

A technical team was assessing the damage on Sunday.

Emmeley Oakley told ABC News that she was on the flight, which she described as “pretty uneventful” before it experienced turbulence about 20 minutes before landing.

“We could definitely feel the hail coming down on the plane and it was quite loud and (of course) super rocky for a minute,” she told the news network in a text message. She estimated that the plane flew through the hailstorm for, at most, two minutes, and said that the shaking caused “phones and cups” to fly around the aircraft.

Austrian Airlines officials said the incident “lasted only a few seconds.” The plane landed safely at Vienna International Airport with no injuries reported.

“It wasn’t until we exited that we saw the nose was missing!” Oakley told ABC News. “The pilots really did an excellent job keeping things as smooth and safe as they could.”

Airline officials said they are investigating why the plane went through the hailstorm.


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