A QantasLink flight has been forced back to Sydney to check for damage after it was struck by lightning.

The twin de Havilland Dash 8-300 (VH-TQH) operated by QantasLink, on a flight from Sydney (YSSY/SYD) to Port Macquarie (YPMQ/PQQ) turned back Sydney around 25 minutes after take-off. The aircraft had between 20 and 30 passengers onboard, and according to Nine News, the lightning hit the nose of the aircraft.

“We just came back as a precaution,” the captain said. “This weather is not normal, nothing like I’ve seen over the last few months.” The flight was sent back to Sydney after the lightning strike so it could be checked as a precaution, the captain told the 20 to 30 passengers on board.

Q3 QLK Strike - Travel Radar - Aviation News– Christopher Chai

In a statement, Qantas said the plane had to be checked for damage as per airline policy.

“Aircraft are designed to withstand and fly safely when struck by lightning but it is policy that they get inspected at their arrival port after a strike,” a spokesperson said.

“Port Macquarie does not have the engineering support required for this inspection so the flight returned to Sydney.

“At no point was the safety of the flight compromised.”

The plane had taken off from Sydney about an hour after its scheduled departure time due to Sydney’s wild weather.

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