Air New Zealand passengers were all settled in for their flight to the holiday destination of Tahiti when they got a disturbing update from the Captain…
Passengers got a shock when an Air New Zealand flight leaving Auckland for Tahiti was struck by lightening, forcing the plane to turn around.
Flight NZ42 left Auckland Airport at 6.10pm on Friday, local time, as a thunderstorm coming in west from the Tasman Sea was bearing down on Auckland, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The flight was bound for Papeete, on Tahiti.
“So yea, um, our plane to Tahiti got struck by lightning so we turned around and came back to Auckland,” passenger Iain McGregor said on Twitter.
“It’s fine, I’m cool, not freaked out at all.”
Air NZ confirmed flight NZ42 has “returned to Auckland this evening after encountering lightning”.
“The aircraft will be inspected by engineers,” an Air NZ statement said.
“Lightning strikes are not uncommon. Aircraft are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario.
“Customers will be accommodated on alternative services.”
It is understood the plane safely landed at Auckland Airport around 8.30pm.
A passenger on board NZ42 took a picture of the plane’s travel trajectory on their seat monitor, showing the flight journeyed well past the east coast of New Zealand before turning back.
Passengers also reported on social media that the plane was dumping fuel on its way back to Auckland Airport.
“Pilot was calm and professional handling the situation,” one passenger tweeted.
A large thunderstorm was hitting West Auckland around 7pm last night, with many residents experiencing a heavy battering of hail.
MetService reported that the west of New Zealand has been hit with 13,000 lightening strikes in 48 hours.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald.