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Aircraft over Frankfurt Airport (symbolic image): Dangerous shear winds

Photo: Boris Roessler / picture alliance/dpa

Frankfurt Airport narrowly missed a catastrophe during a severe thunderstorm. The pilots of a cargo plane of the South American airline Latam had briefly lost control of their Boeing 20 in the incident on June 767 of this year during take-off.

This is the result of an interim report now published by the Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation. It was only at an altitude of 1550 feet (472 meters) that they managed to end the steep descent after a good ten seconds and regain altitude with the jet. The plane had rapidly lost altitude, as previously traced by the portal "aero.de ", citing the report.

According to the report, the crew, consisting of three pilots, had lost sight of the runway during the landing approach at 17:52 p.m. in heavy rain and aborted the approach. Shortly thereafter, there was a warning in the cockpit of dangerous shear winds, so that the pilot went into the climb with maximum thrust.

Federal agency speaks of "serious disruption"

During this maneuver over the grounds of Germany's largest airport, there was apparently a loss of control and the very slow machine sank abruptly. After the successful interception manoeuvre, the aircraft landed safely in Frankfurt 35 minutes later.

The Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation is investigating the incident as a "serious incident," even though no one was injured. Other flights were diverted. It is about collecting as much information as possible about the crew, the machine and the external influences, said a spokesman for the authority in Braunschweig.

For this purpose, data from the aircraft, air traffic control and the weather service are evaluated. The pilots as well as the air traffic controllers would be heard. Only in the final report will there be a precise analysis of the reasons. This report is not expected until next year.

Editor's Note: An earlier version stated that the pilots did not regain control of the aircraft until an altitude of 1913 feet (583 meters). In fact, they only managed to do so at an altitude of 1550 feet (472 meters). The previous figure had referred to mean sea level. We have corrected the passage.