British Airways flight forced to divert from Heathrow after being 'struck by lightning'

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-Credit: (Image: Alamy/PA)

A British Airways flight had to be diverted after the plane was reportedly hit by lightning. The flight, which was travelling from Stuttgart to Heathrow, was forced to land at Gatwick instead.

One passenger, Jeco, told The Sun: "The crew were amazing when our flight got struck by lightning on the approach to Heathrow," adding, "It was shocking. The flight had to divert to Gatwick."

British Airways confirmed the incident, and said in a statement: "BA919 diverted to Gatwick earlier this afternoon due to weather related conditions in the region. The flight landed just before 2pm. Customers were driven from Gatwick to Heathrow."

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Lightning strikes on commercial planes are not uncommon. According to airline Pegasus, research shows that "every aircraft is struck by a lightning once a year on average."

It added: "If an aircraft is struck by a lightning, it can cause a radiant light and a strong rumble along with shakes. In case of a lightning strike, passengers should remain calm and follow the flight attendant's instructions.", reports the Mirror.

Aircrafts are designed to withstand lightning strikes, being painted with anti-static paint and engineered so that the lightning is directed back into the air. While the sound of the explosion can be alarming for passengers, the damage caused is usually minor or non-existent.

"Only the small parts on the aircraft's outer body might get harm but it is quite predictable in case of a lightning strike," Pegasus explained. "When the electricity is discharged through lightning, it can create explosion sounds. But there is no need to worry."

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