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Four Houston Area Planes Struck By Lightening

Confirmation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was received on Friday night that four different planes from four different airlines were struck by lightening in the Houston area on Friday.  Heavy storms rolled through the area shortly after rush hour and all four planes were hit by lightening within a two-hour period.  Two of the aircraft were hit within five minutes of each other and both pilots declared emergencies and landed on the same runway at Intercontinental Airport, which was lined with fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

Flights that were affected include United Flight 1007 to Bogota, Columbia (struck 15 miles east of the airport), United Express Flight 4637 to Mobile, Alabama (struck 35 miles northeast of the airport), Delta Flight 1832 from Atlanta (just prior to landing at the Houston Hobby Airport), and AirTran Flight 297 from Atlanta (also flying to Houston Hobby).

United Express Flight 4637 had already turned around and was returning to the airport due to a mechanical issue when it was struck.  The passengers on this flight were put on other flights to Mobile, according to an airline representative.  United Flight 1007 to Bogota was being checked while sitting at Gate C-34 and passengers could be seen through the windows relaxing, listening to music, and being served drinks as the plane was being readied to take off again.  Both flights flying into Houston Hobby Airport landed without incident.

Lightening continued late into the night on Friday night.  It occurred west of Intercontinental Airport, but no other incidents took place.  A veteran air traffic controller told Local 2 Investigates that it is not uncommon for aircraft to be hit by lightening and that they are designed to take the blow, but to have so many struck in such a short period of time is surprising.

See the original Google News article for more details.

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