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SOUTH AFRICA: DAMAGED BOEINGS STAND IDLE AFTER FREAK HAIL STORMS GROUND THIRD OF NATIONAL FLEET


Story

One third of South Africa's national airline fleet has been damaged in a freak hailstorm, with damage so bad that the planes have been withdrawn from services. In six hours, more than two and a half inches of rain was measured at Johannesburg's Jan Smuts airport.
SYNOPSIS: The managing director of South African Airways, Kobus Loubser, says the damage to 12 of his Company's 36 planes will completely disrupt schedules. He says that neither domestic or international flights will be running according to schedule fr at least another week.
Even the aircraft inside hangars weren't safe from the hailstones. They smashed through skylights--peppering the wings of the planes inside. The storm on Wednesday (16 January) was one of the worst to hit South Africa in years. Normally, the country has what is described as a warm and temperate climate, with average temperatures of around 17 degrees Centigrade.
But, according to eye witnesses, there was nothing temperate about this freak storm. The hailstones were bigger than golf balls and they shattered hundreds of car windscreens.
South African Airways staff have been working round the clock to ensure minimum disruption to their passengers. Other airlines have been called in to share the passenger load.
Meanwhile, engineers in Johannesburg get down to the task of repairing hail damage to wings and flaps. The types of aircraft damaged include Boeing 727, 737 and the 747 Jumbo Jets. The only type of plane to escape was the wide-bodies Aribus--normally used on the Johannesburg-Cape Town route. South African Airways has also asked the Boeing Company in the United States to fly out experts to help repair the battered planes.

Reference 534/80
Tape
Issue
Can 20208
Source REUTERS - NIC LOUW
Restrictions Restrictions on certain uses may apply, and may vary from those listed.
Time code
Date original 16 JANUARY 1980
Duration 1.49
Technical
Subset Reuters TV - RTV Post 1957
Location JAN SMUTS AIRPORT, TRANSVAAL, SOUTH AFRICA
Sound NATURAL
Colourbw COLOUR

1. GV INTERIOR South africa Boeing 707 in hangar 0.03
2. CU Holes and dents in wing of aircraft PULL OUT PAN ALONG wing damage caused by hail (2 shots) 0.22
3. SV Smashed skylights in hanger roof 0.26
4. CU Hail damage in wing of aircraft 0.46
5. GV PAN EXTERIOR Other Jumbo jets on tarmac 0.54
6. CU Hail damage to SA Airways Jumbo 1.04
7. SV PAN Tailplane of British Airways 747 TO engineer examining flaps on wing 1.14
8. SV Engineers repairing hail damage to wings and flaps of BA 747 (3 shots) 1.49

InitialsSW/

Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

Ref: BGY511170473

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