An AirAsia India flight with 171 passengers on board has been forced to make an emergency landing after huge hailstones caused the windscreen to crack.
AirAsia India Flight 15-536 returned to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in the city of Kolkata in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal just minutes after takeoff, according to local media.
After departing at around 4.30pm on 3rd March, the plane encountered a strong hailstorm which resulted in the windscreen being cracked.
The plane was making its ascent and had reached around 12,000 feet when the incident happened.
The pilot contacted air traffic control to explain the situation before being granted permission to return to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
Reports said there were 171 passengers on board at the time, including West Bengal state minister Aroop Biswas, 55.
Biswas told local media: “It was a very close shave… after the flight took off from Kolkata the plane started shaking, most of the passengers were afraid of the turbulence.”
An AirAsia India spokesperson said: “Suspecting damage to the windshield, the crew elected to return to Kolkata and have the aircraft inspected.
“We reiterated that we place safety and security foremost in all aspects of operations and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
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