Duke and Duchess: Royal plane aborts landing after Pakistan storms

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk down the steps of a plane as they arrive in Lahore on 17 October 2019 Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving in Lahore at the start of the day

A Royal Air Force plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aborted a landing in Pakistan after being caught in a severe thunderstorm.

The RAF Voyager twice tried to land in Islamabad – at Rawalpindi air base and the main airport – before returning to Lahore, from where they had departed.

Prince William and Catherine are on a four-day official visit to Pakistan.

The aircraft was in the air for more than two hours for the 25-minute journey due to thunder and lightning.

Former air ambulance pilot Prince William later joked that the problem had been caused by him flying the plane, according to BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, who was on the flight with other members of the media.

But the prince said that both he and Catherine were “fine”.

A passenger on the flight described the incident as a “pretty serious storm” and a “rollercoaster”.

Another passenger said: “The plane was making large jerking movements as we tried to battle through the wind.”

The plane is currently being refuelled in Lahore, but it has not yet been announced when it will return to Islamabad.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The duke and duchess had spent the day in Lahore

The duke and duchess had spent the day in Lahore, joining in a cricket match and touring the Badshahi Mosque.

They also went to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, where Prince William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, had also visited a year before her death in 1997.

The plane shook and bucked

By BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The RAF Voyager plane at Lahore’s airport

The first sign of any trouble was a delay, then an announcement – the royal flight back from Lahore to Islamabad would wait for storms above the capital to clear.

Then there was a descent – and steadily building turbulence. Quite a bit of turbulence. Seat belt signs went on, the plane pulled up. Some calm returned.

Then came a second attempt at landing; this time the plane shook, bucked and fell in the stormy air; seasoned flyers on board were gripping armrests and the seats in front of them.

But after the aborted landing Prince William was in good spirits and joked about the flight.



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