• France's news in English
Hailstorm forces Paris flight to return to Rio
An Air France Boeing 747 (not pictured) on its way to Paris was forced to return to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro this week, after a violent hailstorm hit the plane. Photo: JPC24M/Flickr

Hailstorm forces Paris flight to return to Rio

AFP/The Local · 14 Nov 2013, 09:12

Published: 14 Nov 2013 09:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We had the impression the cabin was being strafed with hailstones and there was violent turbulence. I was scared to death," Benjamin Cano, travelling in business class, told AFP by telephone following the mid-air drama late on Tuesday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Air France said the captain had elected to head back to Rio after the hailstones damaged a windshield.

"The flight was cancelled and the passengers transferred onto later flights," the carrier added.

The incident comes four years after an Air France Airbus 330 traveling from Rio to Paris crashed off the coast of Brazil, killing all 228 people on board.

Passengers on Tuesday's flight said signs of damage caused by the hailstones were clearly visible.

Photographs of the damage to the aircraft were published on Brazilian news site G1.

"When we got off we saw the impacts on the whole cabin – there were three huge ones on the windscreen," said Rio-based hotel owner Cano.

Story continues below…

"The pilot just told us to stay with our seat belts attached. I don't know how long it lasted – three or four minutes. Far too long. Then, the pilot told us we were heading back to Rio.

"The crew were very professional, going round checking on everyone," added Cano, though he added he had doubts whether to board given the poor weather conditions and felt the flight should possibly have not taken off in the first place.

Rio sweltered in temperatures topping 40 Celsius on Tuesday before heavy evening storms hit.

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available