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Caught on camera: Two planes hit by lightning

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, April 4, 2015, 5:08 AM - What we've got in the video above is not one, but two, supremely lucky shots.

Owen Kraft was out filming in Seattle as planes were coming in to land at Sea-Tac Airport, and managed to snap two of them as they were struck by lightning on approach.

"I was stunned for a second because I couldn't believe what I just saw," Craft, a student at the University of Washington, told KOMO. "After the second ... got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!"

KOMO managed to track down some of the passengers on the affected flights, one of who actually witnessed the bolt itself.

"I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine," Kim Dodge told the station. "I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second."

Both planes landed safely, and as impressive as the bolts were, the incidents were neither uncommon nor as dangerous to planes as you would think. In fact, not only are commercial airliners hit relatively often (Scientific American says at least once a year), they may actually trigger lightning themselves when flying through particularly charged clouds.

Lightning can, in fact, cause crashes, but the last one in the United States was in 1967, when a bolt triggered a fuel explosion. Since then, improvements in aircraft design mean bolts can be conducted safely without harming a plane's systems or passengers.

SOURCE: KOMO | Scientific American

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