Friday, April 13, 2012

Lightning strike turns United flight back to San Francisco International Airport


SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Some very nervous passengers at SFO will board another flight to London Friday afternoon after their original flight made an emergency landing Thursday night after it was struck by lightning.

It was especially for the passengers who are not great fliers. United Flight 930, bound for London, was around 45 minutes out when it was suddenly struck by lightning. The lightning slammed into the left side of the aircraft with a huge flash, prompting oxygen masks to drop down. Passengers describe the light as massive and brilliant, filling the entire cabin.

"You could actually just feel the lightning hit the plane and, just a giant flash, where everyone's sitting and watching movies and stuff. But, it was pretty overpowering how bright the flash was," passenger Michael O'Neal recalled. "I looked around and just sort of continued about my business, but I was definitely shaken and everyone sort of looked at each other like, 'What was that?'"

The pilot kept it together, dumped fuel over the ocean, and flew back to SFO to make an emergency landing. Everyone was safe. Passengers will board another flight headed to London at 3 p.m.

According to the Scientific American website, on average, every commercial jet in the world, gets struck by lightning more than once per year, but the jets are so well designed they can handle it.

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