Puerto Rico breathes sigh of relief as spared Irma's worst

Puerto Rico breathes sigh of relief as spared Irma's worst

Puerto Rico breathes sigh of relief as spared Irma's worst

A Delta Airlines flight - with 173 passengers on board each time - took off from New York's John F. Kennedy airport Wednesday and safely traveled to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico - all while Hurricane Irma bore down on the island.

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.

"You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431?"

"Where others have turned back, Delta #DL431 presses on", tweeted Flightradar24, an account that tracks live air traffic.

"This Delta flight was the last both in and out of SJU", Rabinowitz said.

As the eye of category 5 Hurricane Irma swept through Puerto Rico's mainlands on Thursday, locals were devastated with destroyed homes, life- threatening floods, and darkness.

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Conditions were ramping up as the aircraft left San Juan, with winds buffeting trees at the airport and dark clouds hanging overhead.

"Amazing stuff", Rabinowitz tweeted as the plane departed.

American Airlines said it added 16 flights from Miami to Dallas, New York and Philadelphia - a total of 3,600 seats. It landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport in NY about four hours later.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded crescendoed over the Caribbean on Thursday, crumpling islands better known as beach paradises into half-habitable emergency zones and sideswiping Puerto Rico before churning north. Winds were recorded at 28 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour - well under the maximum limits for their Boeing 737-900ER plane to operate safely. Delta flight DL302 left San Juan bound for NY only 52 minutes later.

Once it became clear that the flight was "going for it", Rabinowitz began cheering for its safe landing and remarking on the skill it took to fly through the storm: "Now DL302 has to climb out of SJU, and they're doing so between the outer band of # Irma and the core of the storm".

Experts praised the airline's forecasters, dispatchers and flight and ground crews for the successful flight after it returned from San Juan.

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