Severe Weather Causes Dangerous Flights
Lightning struck two planes flying over Western London during a storm on 27 April 2016. It is not uncommon for lightning to strike planes, which you can read more about here. However, it is fairly rare that these lightning strikes are caught on film. The video below shows a plane being struck by lightning in the distance near London Heathrow Airport.
The two planes, one a British Airways and the other Icelandair, are built to sustain lightning strikes and therefore no one was injured. Passengers did, however, experience loud bangs and flashes of light during the strike. The image below provided by Earth Networks Total Lightning Network shows the strikes believed to have hit the planes as they flew near London Heathrow Airport.
A strong storm over Indonesia caused chaos during the last 45 minutes of an Etihad Airways flight flying from Abu Dhabi to Jakarta on 4 May 2016. Passengers and crew alike were caught off guard by extreme turbulence that sent unbuckled passengers flying. In the ten minutes of turbulence, over 31 people were injured. After landing, 22 of those injured were checked and released by the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport clinic while the remaining nine were brought to a nearby hospital.
— anjarmaladi (@anjarmaladi) May 4, 2016
The plane’s cabin storage areas were damaged as a result of the event. The video below shows the over 30,000 lightning strikes that battered the region during a 12-hour period on the day of the flight and could have added to the severity of the turbulence.
In addition to the storm, the typography of the landscape also helped in creating this severe turbulence. Weather satellite observations show that moisture was building up due to the mountains in the region, pulling the air up vertically.
On 7 May 2016 a Hong Kong Airlines flight turned around over the island of Borneo when it hit severe turbulence above Kalimantan. 17 people were injured after the turbulence, which caused the Hong Kong bound flight to return to Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Five of those injured were treated at the airport clinic while the remaining 12 had to be admitted to nearby hospitals. Many of the plane’s 204 passengers and 12 crew had minor injuries but were conscious and able to walk.
Severe weather may be a contributing factor for the severe turbulence. The above video powered by Earth Networks Total Lightning Network shows over 22,000 combined in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes over the region. Earth Networks PulseRad radar alternative also recorded pockets of precipitation over the region during the time of the incident.