Amazing footage shows how the pilot’s brave actions saved the lives of those on board as he brings the Airbus A320 safely into land
A hero pilot has landed a plane full of 127 tourists “blind” after giant hailstones severely damaged the plane’s nose and cockpit cracking the aircraft’s windscreen.
Amazing footage shows how the pilot’s brave actions saved the lives of those on board as he brings the Airbus A320 safely into land at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport .
The huge jet has suffered several external damage after being pelted with giant hailstones while it was mid-flight during a massive thunder storm.
Passengers can be heard passengers crying and praying as the stricken plane judders to the ground.
A voice on the ground is heard saying: “He won’t do it, he won’t do it.”
Capt Akopov said the plane was hit by hailstones “as big as hen’s eggs”, which left a huge gash in the jet and disabled the autopilot.
He and other crew were celebrating as if it was a “second birthday” after they brought the plane down safely.
Capt Akopov said: “I have been flying for 30 years. Well, did you see the plane landing? Was it okay? The passengers are alive. It is normal.
“This is our professional reliability. Our locator did not show this weather disaster, this is why it happened.
“It was hard, but the main thing is that people are alive.”
The catastrophe hit 10 minutes after the Atlasglobal plane took off to Erkan in Northern Cyprus.
Having climbed to 1,300 meters, the hailstones cracked the cockpit windows preventing the pilot from seeing his approach to land.
The captain was permitted to try and land at Ataturk airport even though it had been closed due to the atrocious weather.
A full-scale emergency was in place with fire appliances and ambulances awaiting the plane.
A video shows a woman with red nails gripping a seat because of the plane’s extreme shaking during the landing.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko called the captain to congratulate him and awarded him with the Ukrainian Order of Courage.
Aviation experts also praised the two Turkisk cabin crew for their bravery and people waiting in the airport broke out in applause when the jet landed safely.
The pilots of other planes greeted the plane by flashing lights and came aboard to shake the pilots’ hands.
Hailstones the size of golf balls and heavy rain battered Istanbul on Thursday in a freak storm that flooded roads, felled trees and brought air traffic and rush hour transport to a standstill in Turkey’s biggest city.
At least two people were injured in the storm, the Daily Sabah newspaper reported.