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Narrative:When approaching the destination, Palermo, the crew decided to divert to Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA/LICC) due to adverse weather conditions at Palermo. En route to Catania the aircraft was hit by severe air turbulence, accompanied by precipitation of hail. Damage was found on the radome and the wing surfaces.
|C/n / msn:|| 2698|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: / Occupants: |
|Airplane damage:|| Substantial|
|Location:||near Catania -
|Phase:|| En route|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Forli Airport (FRL/LIPK)|
|Destination airport:||Palermo-Punta Raisi Airport (PMO/LICJ)|
Above report is incomplete: before the first landing attempt, the plane was hit by lightning.
A first landing was then attempted, but with landing gear already out, abandoned. Aircraft tried to climb out of the clouds, suddenly being hit by hailstorm. From the sound and the frequency of impact of the ice lumps, they must have been at least 10cm in diameter. The hailshower lasted approx. 1 minute. After landing at Catania one could see the destroyed radome (see photo), dents on the forward edges of wings and tail, and an opening in the vertical rudder surface.
How the aircraft could have flown into the thunderstorm area, in particular into the thunderstorm core, is hard to understand. According to the duration of the hailshower, the thunderstorm core which was encountered must have been between 5 and 10 km wide. How this could be overlooked (thunderstorm cores are clearly displayed in red on the wheather radar) and how the aircraft engines survived the impacts of the ice lumps, is a mystery.
Serious mistakes of flight control must have coincided with errors/mistakes of the plane crew.
(report of a passenger)
Photo taken from the shuttle bus to the cattania terminal after landing