A passenger plane trying to weather a hail storm over the Alps was forced to land without a nosecone after the inclement weather wreaked havoc on the craft’s fuselage.

The craft – an Austrian Airlines Airbus A320-200, took such a battering from the airborne ice balls that, alongside the nosecone damage, its cockpit windows were rendered almost opaque.

Thankfully, the jet safely made it to its destination, Austrian capital Vienna, but dramatic images from the runway show the sheer extent of the damage.

One image of the plane’s nose shows how the hailstones chipped away at the airliner’s paint job and caved in parts of its nosecone, while the damage to the cockpit glass is so severe, it almost looks like gunfire had struck the craft.

Fortunately, the hail didn’t manage to penetrate the cockpit’s three layers of reinforced plastics.

Austrian Airlines said pilots had made an emergency Mayday call to air traffic controllers as a result of the damage – but the storm caught them off-guard, having not been visible on the plane’s radar.

The airline’s technical team is now undertaking a damage inspection on the stricken craft – and passengers on board the flight from Palma de Mallorca to Vienna have opened up about their experience.

One passenger, Emmeley Oakley, told ABC News: “I think we were about 20 minutes from landing when we got into a cloud of hail and thunderstorm, and the turbulence started,” adding that flyers could hear the hailstorm as it hit their plane.


u200bAustrian Airlines plane

Austrian Airlines said the “thunderstorm cell” was not visible on the plane’s radar

Austrian Airlines

Oakley continued: “It wasn’t until we exited that we saw the nose was missing! The pilots really did an excellent job keeping things as smooth and safe as they could.”

Austrian Airlines told GB News: “Airbus A320 aircraft was damaged by hail on yesterday’s flight OS434 from Palma de Mallorca to Vienna.

“The aircraft was caught in a thunderstorm cell on approach to Vienna, which according to the cockpit crew was not visible on the weather radar.

“According to current information, the two front cockpit windows of the aircraft, the nose of the aircraft [the “radome”] and some panelling were damaged by the hail.

“The aircraft was able to land safely at Vienna-Schwechat Airport. All passengers on the flight were unharmed.

“The Austrian Airlines technical team is already tasked with assessing the specific damage to the aircraft. The safety of our passengers and crews is the top priority for Austrian Airlines.”

The news comes just weeks after a bout of heavy turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight left a 73-year-old British man dead and dozens more injured.

The flight – a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 – had experienced a period of severe turbulence as it flew through tropical thunderstorms in late May, and was forced to make an emergency landing at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, hours before it was due to land in Singapore.