by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Nov 13, 2013
A violent hailstorm forced a Paris-bound Air France Boeing 747 to turn back to Rio shortly after take off, officials said Wednesday.
"We had the impression the cabin was being strafed with hailstones and there was violent turbulence. I was scared to death," Benjamin Cano, travelling in business class, told AFP by telephone following the mid-air drama late Tuesday.
In a statement, Air France said the captain had elected to head back to Rio after the hailstones damaged a windshield.
"The flight was cancelled and the passengers transferred onto later flights," the carrier added.
The incident comes four years after an Air France Airbus 330 traveling from Rio to Paris crashed off the coast of Brazil, killing all 228 people on board.
Passengers on Tuesday's flight said signs of damage caused by the hailstones were clearly visible.
"When we got off we saw the impacts on the whole cabin -- there were three huge ones on the windscreen," said Rio-based hotel owner Cano.
"The pilot just told us to stay with our seat belts attached. I don't know how long it lasted -- three or four minutes. Far too long. Then, the pilot told us we were heading back to Rio.
"The crew were very professional, going round checking on everyone," added Cano, though he added he had doubts whether to board given the poor weather conditions and felt the flight should possibly have not taken off in the first place.
Rio sweltered in temperatures topping 40 Celsius Tuesday before heavy evening storms hit.
Weather News at TerraDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|