Plane Diverted to JFK After Lightning Strike: 'Very Bright Burst of Blue and Tremendous Bang' | NBC New York

Plane Diverted to JFK After Lightning Strike: 'Very Bright Burst of Blue and Tremendous Bang'

There was a moment of silence as shock spread across the cabin, and then the pilot came on the public announcement system

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    Officials say a lightning strike forced a plane from North Carolina to land at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. (Published Thursday, March 17, 2016)

    Officials say a lightning strike forced a plane from North Carolina to land at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

    It happened around 6 p.m. Thursday as the plane was circling New York City, according to passengers. Shock filled the aircraft.

    "There was a very bright burst of blue and a tremendous bang, like the plane had been hit by something," said Rebecca Seger of Yorktown.

    The American Airlines flight had taken off from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina and was scheduled to land at LaGuardia Airport, about 10 miles away from JFK. 

    But as the plane approached New York, it hit turbulent skies. Seger snapped photos of the gloomy skies from inside the plane, and moments later, she said she saw and felt the flash of lightning.

    There was a moment of silence as shock spread across the cabin, and then the pilot came on the public announcement system. 

    "He just told us the plane had been hit by lightning but the pilot said everything was OK," said Seger. "Then he came on about five minutes later and told us they didn't know if they could get us into LaGuardia because there was too much traffic and thunderstorms near it, obviously, and that we might go to JFK."

    The Embraer E170 plane was redirected to Kennedy Airport, where fire trucks awaited its landing. Emergency responders lined the tarmac to examine the plane.

    "Cops and more fire trucks came and examined the plane for like 20 minutes before we were able to move to the terminal," said Seger. 

    Fifty-five passengers and four crew members were on board. None was hurt, according to the FAA. 

    Seger, a business traveler who flies more than 100 flights a year, said she's never experienced a flight like that. 


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