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An American Airlines flight was forced to divert to El Paso (ELP) on Sunday after severe weather and turbulence caused damage to the aircraft.
AA Flight 1897 from San Antonio (SAT) to Phoenix (PHX) took off at 6:57pm local time. Mid-flight, hail and severe weather began to damage the Airbus A319 aircraft (registration N806AW) that was operating the route. The pilots decided to divert to El Paso (ELP) and safely landed the plane after just over two hours in the air.
Both the windshield and nose of the plane sustained hail damage.
“On June 3, American Airlines flight 1897, from San Antonio to Phoenix, diverted to El Paso due to damage sustained by weather in flight,” a spokesperson for the airline told TPG. “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 airline assigned a different aircraft to complete the flight to Phoenix, where it landed at 11:41pm local time.
“The aircraft is currently being evaluated by our maintenance team,” American said. “We never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and we are sorry for the trouble this caused.”
The incident comes amid heightened awareness of aircraft maintenance after an engine explosion cracked a window on Southwest Flight 1380 and nearly sucked a passenger out of the plane in April. That passenger later died from her injuries. In May, a broken windshield forced a Sichuan Airlines flight to make an emergency landing, as the pilot was sucked halfway out of the cockpit.
Fortunately in this case, no injuries were reported among AA1897’s 130 passengers or five crew members.
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