This is the heartbreaking moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed yards over the heads of tourists as it came in to land on the Greek island, in what some said was the airport’s lowest landing ever.
Dramatic footage of the landing was uploaded last week by a jet enthusiast who was in a position to watch the planes touch down on the Greek island of Skiathos.
The island’s landing strip, built a few yards from the sea, is a draw for thrill-seekers looking to capture picturesque landings.
But even seasoned plane spotters were stunned as the plane barreled toward the tarmac and narrowly cleared the airport’s perimeter fence.
This is the heartbreaking moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed yards over the heads of tourists as it landed at an airport in Greece.
As the Airbus A321neo operated by Wizz Air approached, it was immediately apparent to onlookers that the pilot was bringing it to low altitude, with one bystander even jumping out of the way.
As the jet lands, it clears the perimeter fence by a few yards, the force knocking back some of the gathered spectators.
The video opens with the plane in the distance traveling over the turquoise Mediterranean waters towards Skiathos’ Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport.
Many people are shown congregating on the beach and the road that runs along the narrow strip of land between the sea and the runway.
As the Airbus A321neo operated by Wizz Air approaches, it is clear that the pilot is bringing it down to low altitude. A spectator also begins to move out of the way in anticipation of a low landing.
Others can be heard screaming in surprise over the roar of the engines as the pink and white jet descends until it’s only a matter of yards above the spotters’ heads, swaying slightly as it prepares for touchdown.
While it narrowly clears the perimeter fence, it’s so low that it kicks dust and sand into the air and leaves a man’s hair that can be seen being thrown in the footage.
Another angle from the second camera shows the man’s clothes being torn off by the gusts from the jet. A young woman is also shown falling backwards – knocked over by the force of the jet – while a woman has lost her hat.
As this happens, the plane’s wheels make contact with the tarmac, and the pilot successfully lands the jet on Skiathos.
The video (pictured) opens with a plane in the distance traveling over the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean towards Skiathos’ Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport.
Image: A man holding a camera flips as a jet arrives on the island of Skithos
An aviation buff, commenting below a video posted on YouTube by GreatFlyer on August 5, explained why the conditions meant such a low landing was necessary.
‘With high temperatures and a very short runway, you must land deep to maximize the runway available for a stop,’ they wrote.
‘Low-cost airlines operate with short turnaround times, if you overheat the brakes you mess up the plane’s schedule.’
One joked: ‘How many viewers think they need new pants?’ Another quipped: ‘A powerful hairdryer, right!?’
Others congratulated the GreatFlyer for keeping his cool and being able to capture the low landing from multiple angles – while those around him were buffeted by the force.
‘It was absolutely crazy! Awesome capture mate, great job!’ One wrote. ‘Thanks to the amazing capture and multiple angles, I wanted to look like an aviation geek! Perfect,’ said another.
Amid some suggestions that the landing was careless — and that the pilot may have deliberately reached a low altitude to play to the crowd — one commentator hit back.
In another angle from a separate camera, the man’s clothes are shown ripped off by the gusts from the jet. A young woman is also shown falling backwards – knocked down by the force of the jet – while a woman has lost her hat.
The airport’s runway (pictured in this aerial photo) is found in the north-east of the island of Skiathos, and is built between two hills on a stretch of tarmac. The runway runs north-south and coast-to-coast, meaning pilots must reach as low as possible to give themselves enough runway to stop.
‘Before jumping to conclusions, let’s say we don’t know why the plane ended up so horribly on a routine approach but I suspect it was “deliberately” “showing off”,’ the person wrote on YouTube.
‘However, the people standing there were deliberately standing despite the warning signs and traffic lights. You can’t get injured if you don’t stand there. Glad to see the plane finally touched down without damage.’
GreatFlyer, whose YouTube channel features dozens of dramatic plane landings and take-offs, suggested that Wizz Air pilots were the lowest at the airport landing in Skiathos.
The airport’s runway is found in the north-east of Skiathos Island, and is built between two mountains on a stretch of tarmac.
The relatively short runway runs north-south and coast-to-coast, meaning pilots have to approach as low as possible to give themselves enough runway to land and stop.
As the runway is short, some planes have to take off with less fuel. Several flights must then touch down minutes later in nearby Thessaloniki to refuel.
In 2018, a British schoolboy was injured after an Airbus 320 turbine exploded mid-air while visiting a controversial tourist attraction.
A 12-year-old boy was watching planes land overhead on a Greek island with his father when they fired more than 30 feet into the air. He landed on the sand.
Earlier that year, a man standing filming a plane taking off from Skiathos got the shock of his life when he too was knocked off his leg by the powerful thrust of the plane’s engine.
Image: A British Airways flight is seen coming in for a low landing at Skiathos Airport
Image: Another passenger jet is shown performing a low landing on Skiathos
GreatFlyer compared last week’s Wizz Air landing to another low approach Air Italy landed on the same island in 2013.
As with the Wizz Air flight, the Air Italy plane cleared the perimeter of the airport by a few yards, leading some to claim it was the lowest landing ever captured on video.
Some suggested last week’s low landings were even lower.
Its geography has made Skiathos a popular destination for plane spotters.
On a busy day there can be up to 100 people around the runway and the airport is called European Saint Maarten – an island in the Caribbean also famous for its low landing planes.
The Caribbean airport has a short runway of 1.4 miles, which forces planes to approach at low altitudes.
Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island’s Princess Juliana International Airport, but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman died after being blown off her feet by a low-flying plane.
Skiathos has been called the European St. Maarten – an island in the Caribbean also famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island’s Princess Juliana International Airport, but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman died after being blown off her feet by a low-flying plane.
Another airport famous for erratic landings is Nepal’s Tenzing Hillary Airport (pictured). The runway is built into the side of a cliff, which means pilots have no room for error when coming in to land.
The New Zealand woman joined hundreds of other tourists in St Maarten to check flights at the beach-side Juliana International Airport.
She was holding on to a fence and was seriously injured when she was blown off her feet before hitting her head on a rock.
Tourists visiting the picturesque beach routinely climb onto the cliffs and land planes, despite signs specifically warning against the danger.
Police in the Dutch territory make daily visits to the beach, which is popular with planespotters from around the world, to warn tourists of the dangers.
Another airport famous for erratic landings is Nepal’s Tenzing Hillary Airport. The runway is built into the side of a cliff, which means pilots have no room for error when coming in to land.
Only small aircraft can land and take off from the airport, and pilots are required to have at least one year of experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft.