You would think that when the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded approaches, planes would stop flying in the vicinity.
Well, in the face of Hurricane Irma – which has already caused mass devastation to Caribbean islands including Barbuda, St Martin and St Barts – one Delta plane flew through the category 5 storm.
The flight took off from New York City's JFK airport on Wednesday and flew to San Juan in Puerto Rico. Within an hour, it then left Puerto Rico and returned return back to JFK with a full flight, all while Irma was approaching Puerto Rico.
Jason Rabinowitz, an aviation fan and expert, tracked the flight's race against the storm, sharing updates, including terrifying satellite images, on Twitter.
Here is the plane flying directly into that massive storm:
While other planes from airlines including American Airlines and Jet Blue turned around, the Delta flight went for it:
Once the plane safely landed at San Juan, they speeded up their boarding in order to return to JFK – so they could presumably take people who wanted to evacuate the island - before they were unable to fly. According to Rabinowitz, they were on the ground for a total of 52 minutes – which isn't long when you think of getting all the passengers and bags off, and then a whole other load getting back on.
A video of the plane taking off from San Juan in Puerto Rico was shared on Facebook, according to The Guardian.
Naturally, all of this madness made for a very tense, and confused, following on Twitter:
Thankfully, the plane finally left the area of the storm and arrived back safely in New York.
Commenting on this intense battle against nature, Delta's Vice President for operations and customer centre made it seem like it was really no big deal.
"Our meteorology team is the best in the business," Erik Snell 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. And our flight and ground crews were incredible in their effort to turn the aircraft quickly and safely so the flight could depart well before the hurricane threat."
After the flight's departure, Irma hit Puerto Rico - which has declared a state of emergency - with heavy rain and powerful winds. The storm left most of the island's population without power and tens of thousands without water and photos from the island show parts of it heavily flooded. The hurricane is now heading towards the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press.