Lightning strikes planes in Auckland
Two planes were struck by lightning shortly before landing at Auckland Airport, scorching the tail of one aircraft.
Christchurch woman Nancy Higgins said her Air New Zealand flight with 144 passengers on board was about 10 minutes from landing just before 8am yesterday when she heard "a loud bang".
She said a friend was on a Jetstar flight, which had departed about 10 minutes before the Air New Zealand flight, and her aircraft was also struck by lightning.
A Jetstar spokesman confirmed the plane had been struck and said it had suffered "minor damage". He said the aircraft was being assessed by engineers.
Passengers had reported seeing a hole in the plane's tail, however the spokesman said the only visible damage was a small scorch mark.
"These incidents are not uncommon when flying in adverse weather and our aircraft are perfectly capable of dealing with these situations when they arise."
Higgins said when lighting struck her flight there was ''a huge pop and the plane sort of wobbled a bit''.
''At first I thought the engine was on fire but then I looked out the window and saw a red flash and the stewardess who was sitting in front of me - we were coming down to land - said there had been a lightning strike," she said.
"I got off the plane and was going to tell my friend what happened, but then she was telling me about it as well, so we both had the same experience."
Higgins said passengers were calm and the pilot made no announcement over the loudspeaker to tell them the plane had been struck.
However, the pilot on the Jetstar flight told passengers once they had landed that the plane had been struck by lightning.
"It was interesting that the plane ahead of us was hit five or ten minutes before and we must have gone into the same storm," said Higgins.
An Air New Zealand spokesman said the plane "encountered lightning on approach to Auckland", but the pilot landed the plane without incident.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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