Aviation

Qantas plane forced to turn around after struck by lightning

Laine Fullerton

A QantasLink flight travelling from Sydney to Port Macquarie yesterday, was forced to return to Sydney 25 minutes into the flight when it was struck by lightning.

Which is the exact reason why we continue to argue the point for staying home on rainy days.

Although that is probably due to our Netflix addiction, and constant need for napping and snacking.

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As per Nine News, flight QLK2164 left Sydney Airport around 8.30am on Tuesday, already an hour delayed due to weather conditions, and was reported to have lightning strike the nose of the Dash 8 twin-propeller aircraft while passing above the Hunter Valley region, leaving four marks on the nose of the plane.

No passengers or crew members on the small plane, which was holding about 20 to 30 passengers, were injured, and the flight landed safely back in Sydney around 10.30am.

A passenger told Nine News: “You heard a bang and the lady sitting next to me said she thought it was a lightning strike and about 10 minutes later we had to turn around.”

In a statement yesterday a Qantas spokesperson deemed the incident a “suspected lightning strike”.

“Aircraft are designed to withstand and fly safely when struck by lightning but it is policy that they get inspected at their arrival port after a strike,” the statement read.

“Port Macquarie does not have the engineering support required for this inspection so the flight returned to Sydney. At no point was the safety of the flight compromised.

“Customers have been transferred onto another flight departing shortly. We thank our customers for their understanding.”

According to Nine News, the captain said: “At no time were we unsafe, we were always safe. We’ve just come back as a precaution”

“This weather is not normal. It’s nothing like I’ve seen over the last few months,” he added.

The damaged plane has been returned to Gate T3 to undergo inspection.

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