Amazing Radar Images Show Final Flight Escape Puerto Rico Before Irma Hits

As Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, approached Puerto Rico on Wednesday, one last flight raced to the Caribbean island to drop off and pick up the airport's last passengers of the day. "Following that, reopening the ports is a top priority, but we have to make sure we also do it safely".

The Delta flight left New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport for San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 8:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

"Rabinowitz explained the pilot flew the plane between Irma's outer band and the core of the hurricane, which "[allowed] the aircraft to navigate in relatively calm air".

A radar image from flight-tracking website Flightradar24 displayed the plane flying along a narrow path on the outer edge of Irma's 185-mph winds on September 6.

By the time the plane was halfway to its destination, flights from JetBlue and American Airlines were already turning around to avoid the category 5 storm.

While the assessment of impact across the island continues, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company's preliminary report shows that major tourism infrastructure and attractions are operational and the island can continue to welcome new visitors.


Aviation blogger Jason Rabinowitz tracked the plane's voyage using flightRadar24 and provided live commentary on Twitter, it was a nerve-wracking experience.

After a quick turnaround of 52 minutes, which included refuelling and taxi time, the plane took off again to make its way back to NY. "Believe me, not good", he said. Flight 431 arrived a minute after noon to nine miles of visibility and light rain, the airline said.

Vice-president for Delta operations and customer centre, Erik Snell, told The Washington Post that the successful mission was thanks to a joint effort by flight and ground crew, dispatchers and their meteorology team. The flight crew reportedly managed to get passengers off and have new passengers board within 40 minutes.

No other flights departed from San Juan after Delta left.

"Where others have turned back, Delta #DL431 presses on", tweeted the Flightrada22, which tracks air traffic in real time.


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