Lightning Strikes Belfast Plane

By Kim Snaith on at

Being struck by lightning while being 30-odd thousand feet in the air inside a metal bird is surely one of the most pants-wetting scenarios you can think up, but for 74 passengers flying from Belfast to East Midlands, that's exactly what happened.

The Flybe aircraft took off from Belfast on Sunday afternoon before lightning struck around 15 minutes into the journey. Thankfully, it wasn't as disastrous as it sounds: the plane was able to return to Belfast where all passengers and crew safely disembarked.

Engineers examined the plane while passengers returned to the airport to await alternative travel arrangements. Speaking to BelfastLive, one passenger, Richard Lennon, praised the efforts of the staff saying "they were excellent and made sure everyone was OK".

While it seems like a rare occurrence, according to Scientific American, planes getting struck by lightning isn't all that unusual. There are no official records, but it's estimated that every commercial plane is struck by lightning — albeit usually lightly — probably once a year. A plane hasn't crashed as a result since 1967, and all planes go through rigorous safety procedures during manufacture to make sure they're protected against such attacks.

That's good to know at least, but knowing most planes are likely to be struck once a year may make me reconsider flying when there's even the slightest hint of a storm.

Featured image: BelfastLive

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