DENVER • A Delta airliner flying from Boston to Salt Lake City encountered a hailstorm and was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver, a federal official said.
Photos taken by a passenger and posted on the website of Salt Lake City television station KSTU showed cracks in the windshields of the plane's cockpit and damage to its nose cone.
"There were times when we felt like the air dropped out from under us. We could see lightning spider- webbing over the wings and hail pounding the plane," passenger Beau Sorensen of Provo, Utah, was quoted by The Denver Post as saying on Saturday.
The turbulence battered the plane, shaking it sideways and up and down, bouncing like a cork on a rough sea, Mr Sorensen said.
The plane dropped 14,000 feet in altitude over a two-minute time span, said The Denver Post.
Delta Airlines Flight 1889 landed safely at Denver International Airport on Friday night after encountering the hail, and the incident is under investigation, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said in an e-mail.
Denver International Airport spokesman Laura Coale said one passenger on the plane requested to be transported to a local hospital.
Mr Gregor said that the plane originated in Boston and had been bound for Salt Lake City before it was diverted.
Delta officials put passengers on other flights from Denver so they could continue to their destinations, according to CNN.
"I fly constantly and this was the scariest 10 minutes of my life," passenger Robin Jones told KSTU after arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport early on Saturday.