Cracked windshield forces Finnair flight down in Hamburg

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A Finnair plane carrying 100 passengers from Paris to Helsinki was forced to divert to Hamburg Saturday after a crack was discovered midflight in the windshield, Finland's national airline said.

"A crack in the windshield was noticed in the air and the aircraft diverted to Hamburg (Germany). There were 100 passengers onboard," said Finnair communications director Maria Mroue.

She told AFP the airline had sent another plane to transport the passengers to the Finnish capital before 9:00 pm (1900 GMT).

According to the Ilta-Sanomat daily, the diverted plane was an Airbus A320 that had left Paris at 10:50 am (0950 GMT) and been scheduled to arrive in Helsinki at 2:50 pm (1250 GMT).

The landing itself had been undramatic, Mroue said.

"It was just a normal landing. It was a technical diversion, a perfectly normal procedure," she told AFP, stressing that it is not uncommon for windshields to crack.

"It usually happens if something hits the windshield, usually during landing. Then the diversion isn't needed, since the windshield can be replaced on the ground," Mroue said.

She said it remained unclear how Saturday's crack had occurred, but said it had not appeared until after takeoff.

If something hit the glass during the previous landing though, it could have provoked a crack when the pressure changed after takeoff, she said.

© 2011 AFP

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