(DailyDig.com) – After just 90 minutes in the air, a wide-body plane bound for the United States was forced to make an emergency landing at Rome’s main airport after being blasted on the cockpit, nose cone, and wings by hailstones as large as tennis balls.
On July 23, flight DL185 from Delta Airlines departed Milan’s Malpensa airport and headed to JFK International in New York. The chilly temperatures of the Alps collided with warm air across much of the Southern area of Europe shortly after departure, causing severe storms that the crowded passenger airliner had to fly through.
The Boeing 767 jet’s wings, nose, and sections of the engine were damaged by hail as it climbed through the storm. Due to gravity, hailstorms felt on the ground resemble downpours of rain. Hail may fall in the skies in any number of orientations at one time. High-velocity impacts may be as lethal as those caused by other types of solid projectiles.
The jet sustained enough damage that an emergency landing at ‘Leonardo da Vinci International Airport’ in Rome was necessary.
After 90 minutes of fuel-burning circling, the plane finally touched down. The aircraft was prepared for a transatlantic voyage by having a fuel tank that was full. If the landing gear or wing flaps were damaged by the hailstorm, it is a common procedure to use up most of the excess fuel during a pattern of holding around the airport in order to reduce the likelihood of an explosion during touch-down.
Images of the plane’s nose after being hit by hail reveal the paint has been peeled off and it has been bashed in. Broken cockpit glass is also visible. It looks like the entrance to the engine has been damaged, and holes can be seen on the plane’s wings.
There were no reported injuries, and everyone got off the plane safely after landing. Local airline maintenance is inspecting the plane for damage incurred during the storm.
The next day, the passengers boarded a separate aircraft to fly to their destination.
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