Robin Eddy / Staff
Lightning struck the only aircraft on the tarmac at Invercargill airport after it struck an Air New Zealand plane that was taking off Invercargill to Wellington and returned to Invercargill.
A loud noise rang unstable passengers on a flight between Invercargill and Wellington Thursday morning as the plane struck lightning in the air.
Talking to ThingsA female passenger said she was asleep when the plane was hit.
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She added that after the accident, the smell of smoke was detected in the cabin and passengers were informed that the nose of the plane had been damaged.
She said she thought, “I don’t want to die today.”
But she said she would take the next flight to Wellington, despite the harsh weather in Invercargill.
Another female passenger, Adeline Cowah, said she was sitting in the rear of the plane when she heard a bang and saw sparks rising from the front of the plane.
Kawah said it was about 50 minutes into the flight when the pilot announced that they would be returning.
Kawah said the trip was very back, scary
She said the landing at Invercargill was stable and the pilot did a good job of landing the plane.
Kuah will look for another Wellington flight that passes through Auckland. She added that some passengers had already taken a flight to Christchurch.
Air New Zealand spokeswoman Anna Cross confirmed that flight NZ8872 from Invercargill and Wellington has returned to Invercargill after a light strike.
Nigel Finerty, general manager of Invercargill, said airport firefighting crews were on standby, but were not needed because the plane landed safely.
She added that the passengers have been placed on other services, and the plane will be evaluated by engineers.
Kroos said that lightning strikes are not uncommon and that aircraft are designed to deal with such accidents. Pilots have also been trained to handle lightning strikes.
Wellington Airport has confirmed a flight has returned to Invercargill this morning.
More is coming.