11:38 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Wild Hailstorm Smashes Windshield, Nose of US Flight (PHOTOS)

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    American Airlines flight 1897 was forced to make an emergency landing in El Paso, Texas, Sunday night after the Airbus A319 suffered severe damage during a hail storm over New Mexico.

    The Phoenix-bound flight, which had departed at 6:57 p.m. local time from San Antonio, was forced to divert to El Paso roughly an hour after takeoff.

    According to reports, none of the 130 passengers or the crew members aboard the flight suffered any injuries; however, a few lunches were lost to the severe turbulence, The Dallas News reported.

    Photos shared on Twitter show the plane's nose dented inward and windshield severely cracked.

    ​"We could hear the hail hitting the plane. I don't know if it was coming head-on or sideways, but we could hear it and we did see lightning," passenger Jesus Esparza told local San Antonio station KENS 5. "The turbulence was very bad… at one point it felt like we fell pretty hard, kind of like a rollercoaster."

    "It was by far one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever been through," he added.

    ​ABC News reports that audio from air traffic control details pilots radioed in that they had "virtually no visibility," but were able to see out of a side window.

    In a statement released by American Airlines on the incident, the airline commended the pilots for their safe landing.

    American Airlines flight 1897 makes emergency landing in El Paso, Texas after a severe hailstorm damages the plane's nose and windshield.
    American Airlines flight 1897 makes emergency landing in El Paso, Texas after a severe hailstorm damages the plane's nose and windshield.

    "On June 3, American Airlines flight 1897, from San Antonio to Phoenix, diverted to El Paso due to damage sustained by weather in flight. We commend the great work of our pilots, along with our flight attendants, who safely landed the Airbus A319 at 8:03 p.m. MDT," the company said. "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."

    Passengers on the flight were put on a 11:46 p.m. flight to Phoenix, CBS News reported.


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