Pilot saves 127 passengers in 'blind' landing after hailstones shatter plane windscreen

A Ukrainian captain from AtlasGlobal, a Turkish airline, has been hailed as a hero for making a safe landing after an unexpected hail storm wrecked the aircraft's windscreen last Friday (July 28).

With low visibility, Captain Alexander Akopov was forced to execute a 'blind' landing.

According to The Telegraph, egg-sized hailstones battered the Airbus A320 shortly after it departed from Istanbul Ataturk International Airport for Erkan, Cyprus.

The rough weather damaged the aircraft's cockpit and wings, and also disabled the plane's autopilot function.

It was the experienced captain's piloting skills that saved the lives of 121 passengers and six crew members onboard the plane.

Using the flight deck's instrument readings and radio signals from the airport, the captain managed to guide the aircraft to make a safe landing.

In a heart-stopping video clip, airport employees can be heard saying: "It won't be able to land, it won't land," while panicked passengers can be heard screaming in another clip as the aircraft made its descent.

The passengers broke out in applause albeit a rough landing on the airport's wet runway, The Independent UK reported.

After the incident, the pilot told local media:"I have been flying for 30 years. Well, did you see the plane landing? Was it OK? The passengers are alive. It is normal. This is our professional reliability."

"Our locator did not show this weather disaster, this is why it happened," he explained.

Last week, severe storms flooded streets and disrupted traffic in Istanbul.

The captain was later awarded a medal for courage in Ukraine and even won praise from its president Petro Poroshenko in a Twitter post.

Captain Alexander Akopov was awarded a medal of courage.
Photo: Facebook/Volodymyr Omelyan