In audio recordings obtained by ABC 7, the pilot expressed concern over “build up” ahead of the aircraft, with the call sign “Brickyard 4233.”
“And Brickyard 4233, just got hit by lightning,” the pilot said.
“Roger, everything OK?” Air Traffic Control responded.
“Yeah, don’t send us through there again, it’s pretty bad. Let’s go ahead and divert to JFK,” the pilot said.
Video of firefighter inspecting the AA plane pic.twitter.com/DgNb7px7Fl
— Jake Poysti (@jpoysti) March 18, 2016
“There was a flash of light, a big explosion, the plane dipped about a hundred feet, I don’t know, it felt like I was on a rollercoaster,” one passenger Lou Luca told ABC.
According to ABC 7, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement: “Republic Airlines 4233, an Embraer E170, landed safely at John F Kennedy International Airport at 6:06 p.m. tonight after reporting a lightning strike. The flight departed Raleigh-Durham International Airport enroute to LaGuardia Airport.”
At least two areas of the plane sustained damages. The FAA said that none of the 55 passengers and four crew members on board were hurt.
“There was a very bright burst of blue and a tremendous bang, like the plane had been hit by something,” passenger Rebecca Seger told NBC 4.
Seger said that after the lighting hit, there was a moment of silence and shock until the pilot made an announcement.
“He just told us the plane had been hit by lightning, but the pilot said everything was OK,” said Seger.
“Then he came on about five minutes later and told us they didn’t know if they could get us into LaGuardia because there was too much traffic and thunderstorms near it, obviously, and that we might go to JFK,” she continued.
— Rebecca Seger (@rebseger) March 17, 2016
Well, after terrifying turbulance, plane getting struck by lightning, and sent to JFK instead of LGA, I’m finally in NYC…
— Josue Berduo (@Josue_Berduo) March 17, 2016
Fire trucks and emergency responders waited for the arrival of the Embraer E170 plane so they could examine it.
Officials said they are investigating the incident.