Remember every single movie action sequence that got your heart pounding, and your fingers digging into whoever had the misfortune of sitting next to you? Well, prepare to that feeling. The story of a plane escaping Hurricane Irma spread across the Twitterverse on Sept. 6 – and the whole thing was absolutely terrifying.
The Category 5 storm is currently hitting Puerto Rico, with a historic wind speed of 185 mph. The island’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, called the incoming hurricane a “dangerousness … like nothing we’ve ever seen,” according to the Associated Press, and added that he didn’t think the island’s infrastructure would be able to withstand such a force.
Suffice to say, flying conditions today were not favorable. A few flights attempted to make their way to San Juan Airport, but turned around.
And yet, one brave Delta flight took off from New York and headed towards San Juan on Wednesday morning just before the hurricane hit, daring to beat the storm. To escalate the tension even more, the plane was 34 minutes late for takeoff from John F. Kennedy Airport. But the pilot managed to land the plane in Puerto Rico at 12:41 p.m., collect passengers and navigate back to New York through a downpour of rain. The total time on the ground in San Juan – from taxiing, unloading/loading baggage, letting off passengers, boarding new ones, and getting back in the air – was 52 minutes.
Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation writer and researcher, charted the plane’s whole journey. He posted screengrabs of the aircraft flight path, dangerously close to the outer band of Irma, to Twitter throughout the flight. He reported that an estimated 30 people were on the flight.
“You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431?” he wrote. “Everyone else has turned around.”
But, fly DL431 did. And how close it was to the eye of the storm.
And if you’ve been on a plane, pretty much ever, you know that getting on/off feels like it takes about 50 percent of your whole trip.
So, it was gonna be tight.
But they did it.
Understandably, Twitter users were having a nervous breakdown.
Patiently waiting for the movie version of this, probably starring Tom Hanks. It will be much, much more fun when the stakes aren’t so hideously high.