Passengers have spoken of the terrifying moment their plane was struck by lightning as it flew through bad weather over the Hunter Valley.
The QantasLink pilot was forced to turn the plane back to Sydney after it ran into bad weather on its way to Port Macquarie.
“It was really scary actually,” one passenger said of the incident.
“Heard a massive bang and then a flash and I was like, no, this isn’t good!”
QF2146 from Sydney was already delayed by an hour when it took off at 9.28am with around 30 passengers on board.
Half an hour later, the nose of the Dash 8 plane was hit by lightning.
The pilot did a U-turn, landing back in Sydney at 10.10am.
- Police investigating Sydney mother’s mysterious disappearance
- Female police officer suffers horror injuries in bite from teen
- MP told to delete Twitter account after shocking rape list post
The weather radar shows just how bad the conditions were, but the pilot had reassuring words for those on board.
“At no time were we unsafe, we were always safe,” he said.
“We just come back as a precaution, always. This weather is … not normal and it’s nothing like I’ve seen over the last few months.”
Qantas says the only reason the plane was brought back to Sydney was of the availability of engineers on hand to assess it.
They say the Dash 8 did not suffer any damage.
“Aircraft are designed to withstand and fly safely when struck by lightning but it is policy that they get inspected,” Qantas said in a statement.
“At no point was the safety of the flight compromised.”
Passengers were put on a replacement flight and finally landed in Port Macquarie three hours late, around noon.
“It was a bit hairy,” one passenger said.
“But we’re here safely and that’s the main thing.”