Some passengers of Tigerair flight TT471 were left in tears yesterday after the aircraft was struck by lightning about 10 minutes after takeoff from Melbourne Airport according to ABC News Australia.
Passenger Karen Juniper told Australia’s public broadcaster, “We were bouncing all over the place. About 10 minutes in, there was a big flash out on the wing, the left-hand side, and a big boom. We continued on probably for another five minutes. Then the captain [announced] we’ve had a heavy strike and we’re going to have to make a sudden turn back to the airport which I think we were all pretty happy about. It was rough, quite a few very distressed passengers as you can imagine, lots of sick bags being passed around. It’s probably [something] that happens more often than we’d know about. But being amongst it, it’s a scary event. People around us, the children, they were in tears and the woman next to me was head down, holding onto the seat in front. The flight attendant who walked out at the end of the night with us did say to us the captain was really worried.”
— ABC Adelaide (@abcadelaide) July 20, 2018
The flight continued in a holding pattern for about 45 minutes before returning back to Melbourne. Ms Juniper said that event was poorly managed. “There wasn’t any further information coming from the cockpit. There was a little old lady, probably 80, and she was really bewildered. She didn’t have a smart phone to find another flight and find a hotel room for the night. It was very, very, very poorly managed. I don’t know the answer… but probably having ground staff to support these people would be a really good start.”
A Tigerair spokesman confirmed to ABC that the plane, an A320-232, registration VH-XUH, was struck by lightning and returned to Melbourne as a “precautionary safety measure.”
The lightning strike caused the cancellation of the corresponding flight, TT472, between ADL-MEL. The aircraft was inspected and cleared for service, commencing with flight TT552 MEL-OOL at 08:13 AEST today.