ADD: There were 140 passengers onboard the Boeing 737 MAX when lightning struck. It was flying at an altitude of approximately 30,000ft towards Panama.
The filmer, who did not want to be named, added: ‘Lightning strikes happen quite often but it’s special to capture one on video. I was just recording the flight during the storm.’
This is the terrifying moment lightning struck the nose of the plane as it prepared to land during a storm.
The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft took off from Los Angeles and was beginning its descent through driving rain with 140 nervous passengers onboard when the bolt struck the jet near Tocumen International Airport in Panama City on March 15.
Both pilots remained calm and continued flying despite the lightning fork suddenly shooting out like a laser beam and illuminating the sky in front of them.
The cockpit was dark aside from the controls until the blinding light flashed in front of the cockpit windscreen at around 30,000 feet.
Aircraft mechanic Juan, who was standing behind the pilots at the time, said: ‘I was startled but we were all prepared and trained for this kind of event. This isn’t the first time I saw a lightning strike like that, but it is still scary every time.
‘Lightning strikes happen quite often but it’s special to capture one on video. I was just recording the flight during the storm.’
The plane was able to land safely at the airport after the incident and there was no damage to the fuselage.
Lightning strikes can happen during storms but it is rare that they cause an accident. Damage can be inflicted if ‘protection finish’ is not applied to the body or not applied correctly.
The lightning usually hits sharp edges like the wing, nose or antennas. The electricity then flows through the wiring and exits the tail of the plane.