German airline says pilots averted major crash

BERLIN, March 3 (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa said on Monday its pilots had averted a crash at Hamburg airport after a strong gust of wind caused a plane, with 130 passengers on board, to veer dangerously on landing.

Amateur video footage, played repeatedly on German television, showed the Airbus A320 buffeted by crosswinds and driving rain as it landed on Saturday at Fuhlsbuettel airport near the northern German port city.

The plane approached the asphalt runway at an odd angle, then swerved sharply before touching down, with one of its wings scraping the ground. The pilots averted disaster by quickly taking off again, going into a so-called go-around manoeuvre.

“Just before landing, the plane was hit by a very strong gust of wind that led to the left wing touching the ground very briefly,” said Juergen Raps, Lufthansa executive vice president of operations.

“The pilots reacted outstandingly by inducing a go-around.”

No passengers or crew were injured and the plane, which had taken off from Munich, circled for about 10 minutes before landing safely on another runway.

Gale force winds caused chaos in Germany and other central European countries over the weekend, killing several people and causing power cuts as well as major travel disruption.

Flights across Germany were cancelled, diverted or delayed. (Reporting by Reuters Television, Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)