Delta Airlines flight makes miraculous escape from Hurricane Irma by threading its way through

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A Delta Air Lines flight raced against Hurricane Irma and won, landing in Puerto Rico and taking off full of passengers within an hour as the storm bore down on the island.

The flight left New York’s JFK airport at 8.12am and arrived in San Juan at 12.01pm, as the hurricane was fast approaching the coast, according to live flight tracker FlightAware.

Racing against the storm, the pilots managed to get the plane back in the air by 12.41pm with 173 passengers on board.

Extraordinary pictures posted on social media showed the flight heading straight towards the hurricane.

Flightradar24, which tracks live air traffic, tweeted: “Where others have turned back, Delta #DL431 presses on.”

Aviation enthusiast Jason Rabinowitz provided a live commentary on Twitter.

“You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431? Everyone else has turned around,” he wrote.

After taking off from Luis Muñoz Marín Airport, the flight rode a gap between the hurricane’s outer band and the eye of the storm.

Mr Rabinowotz added: “amazing stuff”.

He said the total time the flight was grounded was 52 minutes, including the time it took to taxi-in and taxi-out.

Erik Snell, vice-president for Delta operations and customer centre, said their “meteorology team is the best in the business”.

He told the Washington Post: “They took a hard look at the weather data and the track of the storm and worked with the flight crew and dispatcher to agree it was safe to operate the flight.”

The flight was the last one to land and take off from the airport before it stopped operations, and landed in New York at 4.22pm.

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