An Icelandair B757 airplane on its way to New York with 150 passengers on board was hit by lightning five minutes after take off from Keflavík Airport yesterday.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
The plane suffered substantial damage to its nose and on-board radar equipment but no one was injured. The plane returned to Keflavík where the Keflavík Airport Fire Department was put on alert.
“This was a massive flash,” said passenger Auðunn Björn Lárusson to daily newspaper Morgunbladid. He said that most of the passengers remained calm, but some lost their composure when they saw the damage that the lightning caused.
Another passenger said they had felt an impact and a loud noise.
The passengers left Keflavík several hours later on another plane.
According to Icelandair sources, lightning hits Icelandair planes about once a year but usually does not cause any damage.