The odds of getting hit by lightning may be extremely rare, but for passengers on a flight from Texas to Germany, “rare” became very real — seven were hospitalized in a freak accident due to a lightning strike.
Lufthansa flight 469 encountered a lightning strike on Wednesday and fell more than 1,000 feet before making an emergency landing in Virginia.
“Lufthansa Flight 469 diverted to Dulles International Airport and landed without incident around 9:10 p.m. local time after the crew reported encountering severe turbulence at 37,000 feet altitude over Tennessee,” the FAA maintained in a statement viewed by CBS News. “The Airbus 330 was flying from Austin, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany. The FAA will investigate.”
On Twitter, a man named Stryker Fadhel alleged that his wife had been aboard the flight and shared a disturbing image of the wreckage following the strike.
“This is what the inside looked like food everywhere, people who didn’t have the seat belts fastened got hurt mostly cause it came as surprise without seat belt sign on and lighting hit the plane badly went 1k ft down & up pilot said,” he wrote alongside the photo.
My wife was on that flight she sent this pic This is what the inside looked like food everywhere, people who didn’t have the seat belts fastened got hurt mostly cause it came as surprise without seat belt sign on and lighting hit the plane badly went 1k ft down & up pilot said pic.twitter.com/NJi2JC6shk
— Stryker Fadhel (@ModerMuna) March 2, 2023
Responding to users in the reply section, Fadhel explained that his wife was put into a hotel room for the night as a result of the incident and that she was put on a flight to Germany the next day. He added that some passengers were placed on different airlines in an attempt to get everyone out in a timely manner.
“The safety and well-being of passengers and crew members is Lufthansa’s top priority at all times,” Lufthansa Airlines told AP.
One passenger told the outlet that it “felt like the bottom just dropped out from underneath” giving a feeling of being “weightless.”
“Wild! And why they tell you to wear your seatbelt even when the sign is off,” one user on Twitter pointed out.
The FAA did not confirm claims on social media that lightning was the direct cause of the turbulence.