Lufthansa plane avoids near catastrophe

DPA/The Local
DPA/The Local - [email protected] • 3 Mar, 2008 Updated Mon 3 Mar 2008 08:13 CEST
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A Lufthansa airliner narrowly avoided a deadly catastrophe while trying to land in Hamburg during heavy winds over the weekend, according to several reports in the German media.

The Airbus A320 with 131 passengers from Munich onboard was on approach to Hamburg’s Fuhlsbüttel airport on Saturday, as gusts of wind from the violent storm front “Emma” made the plane to twist dangerously close to the ground. A video on the internet shows the plane almost perpendicular to the runway and a wing whipping up water as it scraped the ground.

"The right wing hit the ground, and the pilot decided to take off again," Lufthansa spokesman Thomas Jachnow told the AFP news agency. "He was braced for a difficult landing and quickly brought the situation under control."

Only the 39-year-old pilot’s quick reactions could keep the aircraft under control, as he gunned the throttle and circled around Hamburg for 15 minutes before landing safely. A spokesman for the German aviation safety agency told the Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday that he’d “never seen such an extreme situation at a German airport.”

All passengers and crew were unharmed, according to the Bild newspaper, but they received counseling from a special Lufthansa team. The wind gusts topped 90 kilometres an hours at the time of the landing. The completely bent tip of one wing had to be replaced.

Jachnow said the plane was expected to be back in service later Monday. "The damage was not as bad as we expected. The wing was damaged but it could be repaired," he added.



DPA/The Local 2008/03/03 08:13

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