Lightning strikes 3 planes headed to PHL

April 23, 2009 4:48:12 PM PDT
An official at Philadelphia International Airport says three planes were struck by lightning on Wednesday night.

The planes were hit while preparing to land at Philadelphia International Airport.

The first occurred at 6:20 p.m. when Republic flight 3407 reported being struck by lightning.

Two minutes later AirTran flight 717 reported being struck.

Finally, between 7:20 p.m. and 7:34 p.m., inbound USAirways flight 1036 with approximately 100 passengers on board reported a lightning strike.

The airport prepared for possible emergency landings by the planes, but all three landed without incident.

The lighting strikes did not cause any delays at the airport.

The planes that were struck remained grounded Thursday afternoon. Officials will thoroughly inspect the planes before they're given the green light to take off again.

Experts say planes are hit by lightning more often than many people realize. In fact one scientific magazine says, on average, each American commercial aircraft is struck by lightning at least once a year.

There hasn't been a commercial aircraft crash blamed on lightning in 40 years.

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