A Delta commercial flight just raced Hurricane Irma to Puerto Rico

A Delta commercial flight just raced Hurricane Irma to Puerto Rico

Airlines are adding last-minute flights out of Florida after people snapped up seats to escape Hurricane Irma.

Three other flights (two from JetBlue and one from American) took off from the US but were forced to turn back before reaching the island. Would you want to be on this plane?

Delta flight 431 chose to go it alone, racing from New York's JFK airport directly into the path of the storm for its destination: San Juan.

The flight then rode a gap between the hurricane's outer rain band and the center of the storm to find open sky.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which features a 1,000-foot-wide (305 meters) radio dish, is closed for safety reasons until further notice, telescope representatives said via Twitter on Tuesday (Sept. 5).

Meanwhile, Flightradar24 also tweeted about the flight: "Where others have turned back, Delta #DL431 presses on".

Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, is now making landfall in the Caribbean on the islands east of Puerto Rico, and, like they have with other storms, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has sent planes in to the storm's eye.

The online tracking system showed Flight 431 arriving in San Juan at 12.01pm - just as Irma was making landfall.

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

Screenshot of flight radar image showing Delta flight 302 heading back to NY.

A Delta spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that the flight traveled from NY to Puerto Rico "on a safe route, touched down, picked up the people that needed to be picked up and made it back to John F. Kennedy". He says meteorologists for the Atlanta-based airline worked with the flight crew and agreed that it was safe to fly.

"Our meteorology team is the best in the business", Delta's Erik Snell told The Guardian.

The flight landed at Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport around noon and left with 173 passengers on board less than an hour later. "And our flight and ground crews were incredible in their effort to turn the aircraft quickly and safely so the flight could depart well before the hurricane threat".

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