London

'Loud bangs' as lightning strikes planes over London

lightning Image copyright @version3point1
Image caption Passengers spoke of a loud 'crack' and 'bang' as the bolts struck

Two planes have been struck by lightning over west London.

Passengers on a British Airways flight from Prague and an Icelandair plane told of their relief after landing safely at Heathrow following the strikes on Wednesday.

One described "a white flash" while others said they felt a "crack" and "bang" as bolts hit the aircraft.

BA said planes were built to cope with lightning strikes and their jet would be inspected before resuming service.

'Blimey'

Liz Dobson, a charity worker, told the Evening Standard: "It came out of the blue. There was a really loud bang and a white flash. Not really what you want on a plane.

"The lightning hit the wing."

Image copyright Catherine Mayer
Image caption Catherine Mayer took these pictures from the window of her Icelandair flight, before and after the strike

Catherine Mayer, who is co-founder of the Women's Equality Party, was returning from Iceland.

She tweeted: "The plane got hit by lightning. Big flash and bang. #blimey."

She told the BBC how passengers sitting next to her looked distressed and frightened.

Icelandair confirmed that flight FI454 had been struck.

"The aircraft was of course inspected after landing for safety reasons, and as the lightning did not cause damage, the aircraft was returned to service later last night," said a spokesperson for the airline.

A spokesman for BA said: "Lightning strikes are fairly common and aircraft are designed to cope with them."

On average, commercial planes are struck by lightning about once a year according to Cardiff University's "lightning lab" in the UK, a recently established laboratory where Airbus conducts lightning tests.

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