An emergency diversion to Athens, where the airplane safely landed a short while later, was made after the cockpit windscreen of a British Airways flight to the Greek island of Rhodes suddenly broke mid-flight. It is still unknown what caused the damage.
Following the two-year-old Airbus A321NEO aircraft’s landing in Athens, passenger Caroline Edmunds snapped a photo of the extensive damage to the front left-side windscreen.
A big “thank you” to the British Airways pilot who safely diverted us to Athens when our plane’s windscreen broke, Caroline stated in a tweet. She called the experience “terrifying.”
“Now happily waiting for another not so dramatic flight to Rhodes”.
A big ‘thank you’ to the @British_Airways pilot who got us safely diverted to Athens after our plane’s windscreen broke … terrifying 😬 Now happily waiting for another not so dramatic flight to Rhodes! #britishairways #BA0624 pic.twitter.com/P5bjfKl6Bj
— Caroline Edmunds (@mrssteve) September 24, 2022
The cause of the windscreen cracking at a high altitude was not disclosed by a British Airways representative, however, the airline did issue a statement in which it stated:
“Due to a technical issue, the flight diverted to Athens and landed safely. We apologized to the customers and a replacement aircraft was arranged to get them to their final destination.”
Bird hits frequently result in cracked windscreens, however, they typically happen at lower altitudes during takeoff and landing. At higher altitudes, it happens less frequently, but occasionally the cockpit windscreen will crack or shatter.
In 1990, a British Airways Captain was partially sucked out of the cockpit when an improperly installed windscreen panel separated from the aircraft.
To prevent Captain Timothy Lancaster from being totally dragged outside the aircraft, the First Officer and flight attendants had to grasp onto his belt and ankles.
According to other sources, the crew believed Lancaster was dead but held onto him anyway for fear he would be pulled into the engine and put the plane in much greater danger.
Miraculously, Lancaster survived with suffered several fractures including to his right arm, as well as frostbite.
Photo cover via Twitter: Caroline Edmunds @mrssteve