- Posted January 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Delta Flight 101 from Atlanta to Buenos Aires narrowly escapes catastrophe while landing in thunderstorm
On Tuesday morning 1/21 Delta Flight 101 from Atlanta encountered 65 mph wind sheer on approach to landing in thunderstorm conditions in Buenos Aires. The plane shook violently and orange sparks were observed coming from the right wing. A flight attendant observed the damage and notified the pilot who immediately aborted the landing and gunned the engines to climb. The right wing flaps were damaged as they were still in landing position when the pilot reversed course to battle the wnd sheer. The plane dropped twice before successfully climbing to calm cruising altitude, and diverted to nearby Montevideo Uruguay. Delta was forced to send a plane from New York loaded with repair equipment and spare parts because they did not have service contract in place at the Montevideo airport. The plane arrived before 6 AM Atlanta time and the pilot told the passengers that Delta would provide hotel accomodations for passengers while waiting 3 hours on the tarmac, but once inside we were told they would not provide lodging for us even though they knew that we would not have a flight for us until Wednesday morning. Flight crew abandoned the passengers in a foreign airport with no Delta staff and very little information provided other than very brief email updates. Delta finally reversed their decision and provided lodging for passengers at 10 pm, just 4 hours before they had to return to the airport to board the continuing flight to Buenos Aires. They also told passengers that they could not remove baggage from planes due to the need to meet customs requirements for 3 countries, US, Uruguay and Argentina, so passengers were essentially held hostage by Delta. Currently, the only compensation Delta is offering passengers is a $250 voucher towards a future flight. Photos of the damage to the wing that we took when we got off the plane are posted. The near crash is being reported as a miracle of survival in local Argentinian press. The pilot was not at fault, control tower directed the plane into a fast moving wall of thunderclouds that had engulfed the airport and did not give warning other than "cross winds" according to what the pilot told the passengers. The story has been widely reported in South America as a miraculous escape but oddly, no coverage in the US of near crash of a US plane with US passengers on board has been reported in the US as far as we can tell even after 2 days. Also, the on line flight trackers are incorrectly reporting that our flight landed on time at scheduled destination and do not even report that our flight was diverted to another country and delayed 24 hours. Why is there a media blackout on this story in the US?