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'A near-death experience': British Airways plane aborts landing after being rocked by severe crosswinds

'A near-death experience': British Airways plane aborts landing after being rocked by severe crosswinds

Video footage showed the plane rocking side to side above the Bay of Gibraltar. (Image: Screengrabs from Youtube video)

GIBRALTAR: A British Airways plane has been captured on video rocking side to side due to turbulence caused by crosswinds as it attempts to land in Gibraltar.

Footage showed flight BA492 tilting mid-air as it makes its approach towards the runway on Monday (Feb 25). 

Pilots eventually aborted the landing attempt and diverted the flight to Malaga in Spain as a precaution, reported the Telegraph. The Airbus A320 plane landed safely 40 minutes later.

Passengers were then ferried back to Gibraltar by bus.

Passenger Lisa Huxstep told the Washington Post that they felt the plane drop suddenly and rock side to side. 

“My husband and I looked at each other in panic as other passengers started to scream,” she said. 

“I gripped his hand and prayed.”

Huxstep said the plane “circled above the sea for five to eight minutes before it was announced (they) were being flows to Malaga instead, due to the strong winds”.

Another passenger, Eli Hassett, told Sky News it was a "near-death experience". 

He said: "We were tilting from one side of the plane to the other. The wings were tilting, it was a near-death experience ...  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."

A spokesman for British Airways, quoted by the Telegraph, apologised for the incident and said the flight was diverted due to “strong winds”.

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our number one priority.”

In a statement, the airline also said that “at no point was there a risk to safety”, reported CNN.

The Washington Post also reported that the aircraft returned to London later that day, without any reported mechanical issue.

Difficult landings are often reported around Gibraltar, a British territory on the southern coast of Spain. 

This is due to the airport’s exposure to strong crosswinds around the nearby Rock of Gilbratar, a 426m limestone mass, and across the Bay of Algeciras.

Source: CNA/ga(rw)

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