A British Airways flight lost control in the extreme winds this week after taking off from Heathrow Airport. The flight was scheduled to go to Gibraltar, but the weather conditions forced the pilot to make an emergency diversion and landing at the Malaga Airport on the Costa del Sol.
Passenger Eli Hassett, who takes the same flight every single week, took a video that he posted to Twitter during the frightening ordeal. Hasset told Sky News that he was “saying his final prayers,” as he believed that the plane was going down.
“We were tilting from one side of the plane to the other. The wings were tilting, it was a near-death experience – let me call it that. The captain, the pilot, she said to get ready for landing and warned us that it might be a bit bumpy because of the winds. All of a sudden I literally felt like I was on a roller-coaster, tilting from side to side, we had no idea what was going on, people were, to say the least, very, very nervous. I – as a father of three young children – started saying my last prayers because I’ve been flying for many years as a frequent flyer and I’ve never experienced such a terrible situation,” Hassett said.
— MackeminGib (@mackemsin) February 25, 2019
Footage taken from the ground looked even more terrifying, with the airplane swaying back and forth. It looked like the plane had completely lost control and was about to crash. Luckily, the pilot was able to make the emergency landing.
Hasset commended the flight crew and credited them for saving the lives of the passengers onboard.
“It looks bad but it felt much worse… it felt as if the plane had completely lost control. You could see the pilot was well trained and she was professional to deal with any type of situation, but I don’t think any of them had ever experienced this before,” Hasset said.
In a statement to LADbible, British Airways said, “The flight has landed safely and passengers have left the aircraft normally. Due to strong winds in the Gibraltar area, our pilots decided to land in Malaga as a precaution. The safety of our customers and crew is always our number one priority.”
Large portions of the planet have been experiencing extreme winds this week, and this is not the only flight that has had a problem. In fact, flights all over the world have been delayed, canceled, and seeing dangerous turbulence in the sky. Some areas have reported wind gusts as strong as 60MPH.
According to airport operations, 89 flights have been delayed at LaGuardia, with nearly 70 flights canceled altogether.
✈️Traffic Report: Gusty ?️ from the mid-Atlantic to New England may lead to air traffic delays today at @BostonLogan, @BWI_Airport, @Dulles_Airport, @EWRairport, @JFKairport, @LGAairport, @PHLAirport and @Reagan_Airport. ☁️ could slow flights at @flySFO. https://t.co/6SfCVdlLho pic.twitter.com/arFARfktSg
— The FAA (@FAANews) February 25, 2019
As a flight landed in Detroit this week, passengers were so horrified by the turbulence that they gave the pilot a standing ovation after the landing, thankful that there was a safe landing.
“We hit the ground, and as soon as we hit the ground, it was like instantaneous people started clapping. People were hooting and hollering. I’ve never been on a flight like that. And I tell you want, when we stopped the pilots stepped out, and everyone gave them a standing ovation. It was just crazy,” Steve Bean of Farmington Hills told WWJ.
Widespread reports of wind damage have been occurring all throughout the US and parts of Europe this week, as the mysterious win gusts continue. The wind cancellations seem strange for many travelers, who are only used to snow and heavy rain causing a problem.
“I wasn’t expecting it because it just didn’t seem like, you know usually snow and ice and those kinds of things you think about it, but I didn’t even think to check this morning so pretty surprised and no other flights leaving today,” Sharon Gonzales from Williamstown, Massachusetts, told News13.
It is possible that these windy conditions will cause airlines and air traffic controllers to pay more attention to high winds and possibly cancel flights in advance in situations like this. These wind gusts are oddly familiar to similar occurrences that happened this time last year, causing many of the same problems. There has still been no explanation for this new “windy season” that seems to be taking place each year all over the world.