Passenger Plane Twists and Turns ‘Like A Rollercoaster’ as Pilot Abandons Landing at Gibraltar

February 26, 2019 Updated: February 26, 2019

A passenger plane caught in high winds twisted and turned “like a rollercoaster” on the approach to the runway before the pilot aborted the landing, in a moment recorded on video from the ground and by terrified passengers inside.

British Airways confirmed that the flight from London to Gibraltar on Feb. 25 was diverted due to strong winds.

The wings of the Airbus 320 can be seen tilting repeatedly to 45 degrees on each side as it loses height.

One of the passengers, Eli Hassett, told Sky News, “I—as a father of three young children —started saying my last prayers because I’ve been flying for many years as a frequent flyer and I’ve never experienced such a terrible situation.”

“It looks bad but it felt much worse … it felt as if the plane had completely lost control. I do this route once a week from London to Gibraltar and the landings into Gibraltar sometimes are a bit windy but today was something completely out of the ordinary,” Hassett said.

A British Airways flight from London arrives in Gibraltar on Sept. 11, 2018. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“It was a near-death experience—let me call it that,” Hassett continued.

The  Airbus A320, which can hold more than 180 people, was also recorded dipping and rotating by various people on the ground, who posted the dramatic footage on social media.

British Airways said in a statement that the flight had been diverted to nearby Malaga airport as a precaution due to strong winds in the Gibraltar area.

“The flight diverted as a precaution and we arranged ground transport for affected customers to allow them to continue their journey to Gibraltar and apologise for the disruption to their journey,” said a British Airways representative. “At no point was there a risk to safety.”

A British Airways plane arrives at the airport in Gibraltar, in Dec. 16, 2006. (Jose Luis Roca/AFP/Getty Images)

Praising the flight crew, Hassett said, “You could see the pilot was well trained and she was professional to deal with any type of situation, but I don’t think any of them had ever experienced this before.”

Hassett told the BBC that the captain warned them to get ready for a bumpy landing.

“A couple of seconds later the plane started tilting on a 45-degree angle, many many times and was also losing height very very fast. The oxygen masks never came on because the plane wasn’t shaking, just tilting like a rollercoaster,” he said.

“It was just flipping and flapping, the plane, it was really an awful experience,” Hassett said.

Flight tracking website Flight Radar shows that the plane turned around and headed for the nearby airport of Malaga in Spain.

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