Two separate Air New Zealand flights were forced to make an emergency landing on Sunday after being truck by lightning.
The flights, heading from Wellington and Auckland to Queenstown, diverted to Christchurch Airport to undergo safety checks.
Passengers on flight NZ605 from Wellington said the A320 plane shook from violent turbulence and rose sharply in altitude before they noticed a burning smell, the NZ Herald reported.
Two separate Air New Zealand flights have been struck by lightning and forced to make emergency landings as they made the routine flight to Queenstown (stock image)
The flights, one from Wellington and the other from Auckland, were forced to divert to Christchurch Airport to undergo safety checks on Sunday afternoon (stock image)
‘Flight NZ605 from Wellington to Queenstown and flight NZ621 from Auckland to Queenstown diverted to Christchurch after encountering lightning this afternoon,’ an Air New Zealand spokesperson said.
‘Customers have been accommodated on alternative services and by road.
‘The A320 aircraft are undergoing standard engineering checks in Christchurch.
‘There was a really loud bang. The whole plane shook and the skies outside the plane were brightly lit up,’ Ben Taylor, a passenger on the flight, told the NZ Herald.
‘Afterwards, there was an acrid, burning smell for a few seconds.’
Another passenger on the same flight described witnessing a lot of turbulence and the plane quickly gaining altitude.
‘There was a loud sound and a flash of light that went through the plane, then a burnt smell for a few minutes,’ Jason Epps-Eades explained.
‘Flight NZ605 from Wellington to Queenstown and flight NZ621 from Auckland to Queenstown diverted to Christchurch after encountering lightning this afternoon,’ an Air New Zealand spokesperson said (Christchurch airport pictured)
‘You know it’s been a roller coaster descent when there are not one, but two rounds of applause when your plane finally touches down,’ another passenger wrote on Twitter.
On Sunday night, Air New Zealand was continuing to experience flight disruptions.
‘The team are receiving a high number of calls at the moment due to a number of flight disruptions,’ the airline’s Twitter account posted.
‘Lightning strikes are not uncommon. Pilots were trained for such scenarios while aircraft are designed to cope with lightning strikes and our pilots train for this scenario,’ an Air New Zealand spokesperson said.
Passengers from the flights were ‘accommodated on alternative services’ following the landing and the A320 aircraft was taken for engineering checks.