German pilot hailed for averting crash during storm

3rd March 2008, Comments 0 comments

The plane was confronted with hurricane-force winds during its approach.

Hamburg -- A German pilot was praised Monday for averting a disaster when trying to land his plane during a powerful storm.

The Lufthansa Airbus A320 with 137 persons on board was buffeted by hurricane-force winds when approaching Hamburg airport on a flight from Munich on Saturday.

The first attempt to land had to be aborted shortly before touchdown after the winds pushed the plane off course and one of its wingtips brushed the ground, sending up a plume of spray.

Fighting to regain control, the 39-year-old pilot was forced to climb and circle the airport for 15 minutes before landing successfully on another runway.

"He did a terrific job in carrying out what he had practiced hundreds of time before in a simulator," Lufthansa spokesman Thomas Jachnow said.

None of the passengers was injured in the incident, but some required psychological counseling after the plane touched down, he said.

An amateur video broadcast on the n-tv news channel showed the plane veering from side to side as it attempted to land.

A Lufthansa spokesman said strong gusts of wind pushed the plane in a diagonal position to runway. After the pilot was able to steady the aircraft another gust caused the tip of the plane's left-wing to touch the ground. It was then the captain decided to abort the landing.

The incident took place during a storm dubbed Emma that claimed the lives of at least 14 people in Germany and other European countries.

The pilot and his female co-pilot, aged 24, were back on duty Monday, flying other Lufthansa routes in Europe.

DPA with Expatica

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