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undergroundnewsroom.com December 16, 2017


Delta flight races Hurricane Irma to Puerto Rico and back -- and wins

10 September 2017, 03:40 | Gordon Grant

Delta flight races Hurricane Irma to Puerto Rico and back -- and wins

A satellite image showed Hurricane Irma as it slammed into the French Caribbean islands on Wednesday after making landfall in Barbuda packing ferocious winds and causing major flooding in low-lying areas. As the rare Category 5 storm barreled its way acr

As Hurricane Irma barreled down on Puerto Rico on Wednesday, a handful of commercial flights made a dash for San Juan's AeroPuerto airport.

Three other flights (two from JetBlue and one from American) took off from the USA but were forced to turn back before reaching the island.

A St. Martin official said that "95 of the island is destroyed" and 70 percent of Puerto Rico households are without power due to the Category 5 hurricane, though the United States territory has avoided the vast damage of other Caribbean islands. Rabinowitz live-tweeted the flight, first asking, "You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431? Everyone else has turned around", Rabinowitz said on Twitter. Airlines typically move their fleets away from storms, parking them at other airports out of harm's way. How was the approach to San Juan?

Including taxiing in and out, the plane was on the ground for only 52 minutes, according to data tweeted out by Jason Rabinowitz.

"Mostly what has happened here is that there is no electricity and a lot of trees are down", said Rafael Ojeda, a 49-year-old lawyer.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands say three people have died after Irma caused what they described as "catastrophic" damage.

The flight was even at a bit of a disadvantage-it took off 34 minutes late from New York's John F. Kennedy airport.

Delta officials said the airline operated its last scheduled flight to and from San Juan "armed with the latest forecast from the airline's meteorology team". From landing in the midst of the fierce "Irma" to flying out just in time everything was nail-biting. It recorded winds around 24 knots with gusts up to 31 knots - all these conditions are below safe operating limits for the 737-900ER. Delta flight DL302 left San Juan bound for NY only 52 minutes later.

"Our meteorology team is the best in the business", Erik Snell, Delta's vice president for operations, said in a statement. "And our flight and ground crews were incredible in their effort to turn the aircraft quickly and safely so the flight could depart well before the hurricane threat".



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