Pilots aboard a Delta Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C. decided to shoot down their plane in Denver after the cockpit windshield shattered above 30,000 feet. The crew repeatedly asked the passengers to remain calm until the plane landed.
“They went up over the megaphone saying the windshield was shattered, and we were turning into Denver in about 10 minutes,” Rachel Wright, one of the 198 passengers on the plane, told KUTV.
A photo of the windshield taken by a passenger shows that the glass, although cracked, did not fall off its frame. The station reported that commercial airline pilots said the aircraft’s windshield could be two inches thick, with several layers of glass.
The crew announced the diversion about 90 minutes into the flight, after the plane reached its cruising altitude, which is more than 30,000 feet, passengers said.
“They kept telling everyone to keep quiet, to be quiet, and we were quiet so we were told to keep quiet while we were quiet made us feel a little bit panicked,” Wright said.
Passengers were able to see the shattered glass as soon as they landed in Denver.
“I’m really good at playing what if? And so, my mind goes into sort of, what could have happened, worst case scenario and I’m grateful,” said Wright. “It could have been really bad, it could have gone completely differently.”
Another passenger, Kirk Knowlton, took a photo and wrote on Twitter that the crew announced that the windshield appeared to spontaneously crack.
Delta gave a statement to KUTV calling it a “mid-flight maintenance issue.”
“Out of extreme caution, the cabin crew shifted to Denver and the plane landed routinely. Our team worked quickly to accommodate customers on a new plane, and we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience to their travel plans,” the airline’s statement said.
Passengers boarded a new plane in Denver and continued on to Washington. Wright praised Delta for safely bringing the plane down, and said the airline was very comfortable.
“I have never been more grateful to spend three extra hours at the airport,” Wright said.
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