Report By: Nina Rai
10 March, 2012
Passengers’ onboard four American airlines must be thanking God profusely for the providential escape they had at the airspace in Houston, Texas.
Lightning struck these four commercial airliners near both Houston airports. Fortunately, the crews managed to land the planes safely, said the Federal Aviation Administration officials on Friday, 09 March, 2012.
United Flight 1007 (a Boeing 737) was flying from Houston to Bogota, Colombia, when the pilot reported at around 5 pm that the plane was hit by lightning. The flight carrying 124 people on board was sent back to Bush Intercontinental airport, Houston.
It managed to land without any incident, stated the Houston Airport System officials. Meanwhile, Mike Trevino, a United spokesman informed "The passengers were put on a different aircraft. That aircraft has since departed and is on its way" to Bogota.
Express Jet Flight 4637 bound for Mobile, Alabama too was hit by sudden lightning in the air about 35 miles northeast of Houston. This plane had 47 people on board, it too was sent back and returned to Houston airport and landed safely.
Meanwhile, the Houston Fire Dept informed that there was smoke in the cabin of both the above mentioned flights after it was struck by lightning.
The pilot of a third plane, the Delta 1832 (an MD-80 plane) from Atlanta reported that his plane was hit by lightning at 6 pm just as he was approaching Houston airport. He however, managed to land the plane safely at Hobby airport. There were 141 passengers and 5 crew members onboard the flight. Fortunately there were no injuries.
Similarly, another plane, the AirTran Airways Flight 297 (a Boeing 717), on its way to Hobby Airport from Atlanta, reported a lightning strike around 6 pm. The pilot succeeded in landing the plane safely, informs FAA.
It may be noted that the four US planes were hit by lightning, barely within a span of two hours of one another. This seems to be the result of heavy thunderstorms that lashed Houston area. Meanwhile, Tony Molinaro, an FAA spokesman promised "We will investigate, along with the airlines, and have a report on it."
Phew, what a day, imagine four flights getting struck by lightning in Houston all in one day. Thankfully, none of these resulted in any fatalities. Hope there are no more such vagaries of nature in the offing again.
Source: NDTV & Chron.com
To get an idea of lightning and tornado in Houston: