Passenger plane struck by lightning

05:52, Apr 22 2013
Plane struck by lightning
QUITE A SHOCK: A black mark on an Air New Zealand passenger jet indicates where it was struck by lightning this morning.

An airplane struck by lightning en route from Wellington to Auckland this morning left its passengers and crew shaken.

The Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Auckland was hit by lightning as it passed through rough weather on its approach to Auckland Airport.

The flight was the roughest many passengers had experienced.

"I was a bit scared. It seemed to fall a lot and it lurched a little bit. We were sitting on the right side and we saw a bright flash," said one passenger.

Planes are designed to withstand lightning strikes and they are common occurrences, with many going unnoticed by passengers, an Air New Zealand spokesperson said.

But this strike was accompanied by a loud bang and even some cabin crew acknowledged the strength of the weather system.

"The crew said this sort of thing happens all the time. But one of the crew members said that in 36 years of flying this was the worst she had experienced," the passenger said.

Another passenger, Fairfax group digital editor Sinead Boucher, said it was the scariest flight she had ever taken.

The aircraft ran into a thunderstorm as it began descending into Auckland, she said.

It was bounced around in the sky amid thunder and lightning for 10 minutes, terrifying passengers.

''There was a big bang and a flash. We thought it was near the wing.''

After passengers got off the plane in Auckland, a big black mark could be seen on the nose of the aircraft.

''The ground crew were saying wow, it's obviously been hit by lightning.''


The Dominion Post