Shocking footage has emerged of the terrifying moment that a British Airways plane was buffeted by turbulence as it approached the runway in Gibraltar, forcing pilots to abort and divert to Málaga instead.
The video shows the Airbus A320, which can hold more than 180 people, being thrown around violently by strong winds as it approaches the airport, with the wings dipping and lifting by nearly 45 degrees as it tilts before it turns away.
Local businessman Ramesh Samtani, 65, was on the flight and said the plane was “swinging from left to right” as it attempted to land in Gibraltar. He added: “As we approached the Rock, I could not see any clouds but the flight took a little dip and all of a sudden it was like it was out of control.”
“The plane was swinging from left to right and all you could hear were people shouting and screaming. It was very scary and people were shouting ‘Oh my god’ and praying.”
“Finally the pilot managed to gain control and we made our way to Málaga .”
“I have been travelling to and from Gibraltar for the past 45 years and this is the first time I have seen something like this happen.”
The dramatic moment was caught on video by Twitter user @mackemsin, who shared the footage online and with media outlets. The man who filmed the incident said: “Being where we are we see a lot of the landings, but never one as rough as that.”
“Glad that I wasn’t on it!”
A spokesman for BA confirmed the incident but said there had been no risk to the safety of passengers, who were later ferried by bus from the Spanish airport to Gibraltar.
“Due to strong winds in the Gibraltar area, our pilots decided to land in Malaga as a precaution,” the BA spokesman said.
“The flight has landed safely and passengers have left the aircraft normally.”
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our number one priority.”
It is not unusual for flights coming into Gibraltar to divert to Spain because of crosswinds, but it is rare for planes to be rocked so violently.
Even in good weather, landing at Gibraltar International Airport can be a thrilling experience. Nestled under the shadow of the Rock, the runway doubles as the main road into town, meaning traffic and pedestrians have to wait while aircraft take-off and land. (Gibraltar Chronicle).