The crew of a Spirit Airlines flight bound for Cancun reported “multiple lightning strikes” shortly after takeoff Friday morning, prompting the flight to return and make an emergency landing, according to the Federal Aviation Association.
“Out of an abundance of caution,” Spirit Airlines Flight 2214 returned to Philadelphia International Airport around 11 a.m. local time.
The FAA has stated that it will conduct an investigation.
This is the latest mishap in a week that has seen thousands of flights delayed or cancelled due to severe weather.
“Our passengers have deplaned in the terminal, and we’re currently considering options,” Fletcher said.
Lightning strikes commercial passenger planes about once or twice a year, according to the National Weather Service.
Planes are designed with conducting paths to keep lightning strikes on the aircraft’s exterior. In fact, planes typically initiate lightning strikes while flying through “ambient electric fields” during thunderstorms.
There has not been a lightning-caused commercial transport aeroplane crash in “many decades,” according to the NWS website.
When lightning strikes a plane, passengers frequently hear a loud noise and see a flash.