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

Simon Calder’s Travel

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 panelling.

“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.

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.”

“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 20 May, 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 hospitalised including those with spinal, brain and bone or organ injuries. Nineteen people remained hospitalised 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…

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