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