Honolulu-Bound Hawaiian Airlines Flight Struck By Lightning Bolt; Returns To Las Vegas With 278 Flyers

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Honolulu-Bound Hawaiian Airlines Flight Struck By Lightning Bolt; Returns To Las Vegas With 278 Flyers

Imagine you are on a plane heading to your destination, and suddenly a lightning bolt strikes your plane. The worst nightmare ever! But about 278 passengers on Hawaiian Airlines actually witnessed this nightmare recently. On Sunday, due to a lightning strike, a Hawaiian Airlines flight headed for Honolulu was forced to return to Las Vegas. 

Honolulu-Bound Hawaiian Airlines Flight Struck By Lightning Bolt

Credits: Wikimedia commons

On Sunday at 7:57 pm, Hawaiian Airlines Flight 5 took off from Las Vegas and was instantly engulfed in a rainstorm. Shortly after, the jet was hit by a lightning bolt. 

Data from flight-tracking website FlightAware reveals that the aircraft had only been in the air for around 20 minutes before the incident and that the pilots quickly made a U-turn to the Harry Reid International Airport, landing safely at around 8:30 pm.

All 278 passengers and 11 crew members made it back to Vegas safely after the flight was diverted due to lightning, according to a Hawaiian Airlines representative. The airline claimed to have supplied hotel rooms and meals for the travelers while airport workers examined the jet. The Honolulu flight was then rescheduled for Tuesday at 4 am. (as per New York Post)

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Many Passengers Were Crying

Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The National Weather Service estimates that just one or two occurrences of lightning striking a commercial airline’s aircraft are reported per year.

Although lightning hasn’t brought down a commercial flight in decades since aircraft are now built to resist the bolts, the NWS notes that airlines are still obligated to land and check for damage in such situations. However, the NWS pointed out that smaller, unregulated private planes may be more susceptible to lightning strikes. 

According to passenger Julie-Anna Bardon, being struck by lightning was the most terrifying experience for them. There were some crying passengers on the flight. The traveller recalled the initial fear on board when the lightning struck the plane. Many things were unknown, she said, including whether the plane had structural damage and whether they would be able to land safely. (as per New York Post)

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Cover Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons