Severe Storm Damages Air Canada Aircraft


A severe thunderstorm prevented Air Canada Flight 1159 from landing at Calgary’s International Airport, forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing at nearby Lethbridge Airport. The aircraft was about to land on 30 July when golf ball-sized hail cracked the windshield.  

Judging the conditions as unsafe to land, the pilot brought the plane back up and headed to Lethbridge Airport, where the weather was sunny and calm.

air canada
Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Earth Networks Total Lightning Network™ detected over 75,312 lightning strikes during the time of the flight. The purple strikes in the video above represent in-cloud strikes, which are often present with other dangerous thunderstorm conditions like the hail and heavy rain Flight AC1159 tried to land in.  

The pilot’s quick action to pull the plane back up and land in safer weather conditions prevented passenger injury and further damage to the aircraft. All 144 passengers and five crew members landed safely in Lethbridge. Many of the passengers were unaware of the plane’s damage before they disembarked and saw for themselves. Ground transportation arrangements were made to bring the passengers to their original destination: Calgary International Airport.