Boeing 777
© airlines470/CC by-sa
American N780AN, Boeing 777-200, shB772
An American Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N780AN performing flight AA-997 (dep Dec 24th) from Dallas Ft. Worth,TX (USA) to Buenos Aires,BA (Argentina), was on final approach to Ezeiza Airport's runway 11 when the aircraft went around due to weather. The crew decided to divert to Montevideo (Uruguay), climbed the aircraft up to FL220, flew around a number of weather cells and landed safely on Montevideo's runway 06 about 37 minutes later.

A passenger reported the captain announced shortly after the aircraft had left cruise level, that there were storms and bad weather in the Buenos Aires and instructed cabin crew to prepare the cabin for landing right away and take their seats. A short time later turbulence kicked in, the worst the passenger had ever experienced (the passenger believes the turbulence could be categorized as severe), many passengers (estimated about half of the passengers) vomited, the aircraft ran out of airsick bags while the aircraft continued the descent flying zig-zag around weather, entered a hold, then continued the approach and was configured for landing. The ground became briefly visible, the turbulence reduced, the engines worked less hard spooling up and down, but then the aircraft went around and climbed back into bad turbulence.

While climbing out there was a large orange flash and a bang. A while later the captain announced they were diverting to Montevideo, the aircraft tracked southeast along the coastline of Argentina first, shortly after the aircraft turned northeast. The turbulence subsided and the aircraft commenced a landing without further incident in Montevideo. The aircraft taxied to a remote apron, the captain announced they would carry on to Buenos Aires as soon as the weather improved there.

Some time later the captain announced, that the aircraft was unable to continue the flight due to a technical problem, the passengers were asked to disembark, they would be taken to hotels. To avoid accidents with the wet stairs, the captain continued, they would be towed to the gate first, but the storm increased and lightning was striking near the aerodrome making a tow impossible. About an hour later the lightning subsided, other aircraft able to carry on to Buenos Aires received priority, the passengers finally disembarked about 4.5 hours after scheduled arrival in Ezeiza, passed through immigration and were taken to hotels.

The occurrence aircraft departed Montevideo 22.5 hours after landing and reached Buenos Aires with a delay of 24 hours.