Video Captures Lightning Striking Two Planes Approaching Seattle Airport During Storm

Image courtesy of (Owen Craft on YouTube)


They say lightning never strikes twice — but one observant onlooker did catch two separate lightning strikes hitting planes approaching Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport as they were landing. Both flights landed without incident, though those onboard say the moment the lightning hit the planes was a rough, albeit very brief experience.

A University of Washington student was outside trying to catch lightning on film while a thunderstorm moved into the area, reports KOMO News. He managed to capture two huge bolts of lightning as they moved through the planes.

“I was stunned for a second because I couldn’t believe what I just saw,” he said. “After the second (plane) got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!”

One plane was an Alaska Air flight coming in from Orange County, while the other was another Alaska Air plane heading in from Houston.

A passenger on the latter flight said she was sitting in the ninth row on the right side of the plane when the bolt hit.

“We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness,” she said. “I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine.”

It appeared that the bolt exited below the wing she says, as there was a loud crack, lighting up the cabin for a brief second.

“There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn’t,” she said, adding that it was “startling.”

A passenger on the other plane from California said the moment the bolt struck the plane was probably “the worst turbulence you’ll ever feel for two solid seconds. It got people pretty shook up.”

Other than that, the flight was totally normal.

Scary as it sounds, lightning strikes on planes are pretty normal. The Federal Aviation Administration estimates that each plane gets hit by a bolt once a year. Planes are also built to withstand the effects of a big zap.

“Airplanes themselves are prepared for this kind of stuff and have the mechanics to manage lightning strikes,” Sea-Tac Airport public relations manager Perry Cooper told ABC News. “We did not receive any reports of precautionary landing alerts from any pilots Wednesday night either.”

Still, two planes in one storm? That, and the National Weather Service reported only five lightning strikes with the storm on its radar in Seattle.

Watch: Lightning strikes two jets on approach to Sea-Tac Airport [KOMO News]