Last updated: 10:30 AM ET, Fri March 18 2016

American Airlines Flight Struck by Lightning

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | March 18, 2016

American Airlines Flight Struck by Lightning

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

An American Airlines flight was diverted to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City after the airplane was struck by lightning.

According to Ray Villeda of, the American Airlines flight was en route to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina when it was forced to circle around the city due to heavy air traffic.

It was during the process of circling New York that the plane was struck by lightning, which spread shock throughout the cabin at around 6 p.m. local time. After establishing that nothing was wrong with the aircraft, the pilot diverted the plane to JFK airport.

The Embraer E170 plane, its 55 passengers and four crew members made a safe landing at JFK and were met by emergency crews who examined the plane and the passengers. There were no injuries reported during the incident.

One of the passengers, Rebecca Seger, told about the lightning strike:

"There was a very bright burst of blue and a tremendous bang, like the plane had been hit by something. He just told us the plane had been hit by lightning but the pilot said everything was OK. 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. Cops and more fire trucks came and examined the plane for like 20 minutes before we were able to move to the terminal.”


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