Terrifying footage has captured the moment passengers scream and clutch their seats as a pilot lands a plane with a smashed windscreen during an enormous hailstorm.
Captain Alexander Akopov was flying the Atlasglobal Airbus A320 from Istanbul to Cyprus on Thursday with 127 passengers when the storm hit just after takeoff.
The nose of the plane was thrashed by hailstones the size of golfballs and the front windscreen was destroyed, leaving the pilot "blind."
A terrified passenger filmed the moment the storm hit, showing tourists crying and gripping the seats in front of them.
- Alleged terror plot targeted 'Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi'
- Chiropractor accused of hiding cameras to film patients undressing
Captain Akopov and his co-pilot decided to turn around to try and land the aircraft back at Istanbul airport, The Telegraph reported.
The moment the plane landed in Istanbul was also captured by ground staff, with one heard saying: “It won’t be able to land, it won’t land."
But once the aircraft touched down safely, it was greeted by an applause from airport staff and emergency services.
Captain Akopov, who has been a pilot for 30 years, said the successful landing was due to his "professional reliability."
"Well, did you see the plane landing? Was it OK? The passengers are alive. It is normal," he said.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko awarded the hero pilot with the Ukrainian Order of Courage and two crew members were also praised for their efforts during the emergency.
The hail was part of a massive storm that thrashed Istanbul, injuring 10 people.