This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.
On Monday, May 26, 2003, a British Midland Airways (BMI) Airbus 312 was hit by an aggressive hailstorm on its way from Cyprus to Britain.
There were 213 passengers and eight crew aboard the flight.
The BMI aircraft was approaching Manchester, England when it was hit with violent weather, including hail and large chunks of ice.
Many passengers who weren't buckled in were thrown from their seats. One passenger was Bruce Johnstone, a New Zealand photojournalist.
"It was like a hail of bullets and then a huge thump. Everyone was screaming and we are lucky to be alive," said Johnstone.
Another passenger, Pat Mallon, a medical secretary from England, said, "The plane just dropped and started vibrating. Everybody was stuck on the ceiling. We were out of our seats for a few seconds and that happened two or three times.
The flight landed at Manchester Airport around 30 minutes late. The passengers clapped and cheered as the plane safety touched the ground.
Upon landing, the plane was inspected. The hail significantly damaged the plane's nose and the windshield, but all internal systems were still completely functional.
"The pilot said that in his 20 years of flying experience he had never encountered anything quite like it and, to reassure the passengers, he said it would be very unlikely if we ever encountered anything like it again," said Mallon.
All 221 people on board the flight walked away without significant injuries.
To learn more about the BMI Airbus 312 flight, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."
Thumbnail: Courtesy of Pixabay