Auckland-Wellington Air New Zealand flight struck by lightning

The plane was forced to turn back for an engineering check-up.
The plane was forced to turn back for an engineering check-up. Photo credit: AAP file

A passenger aboard a flight from Auckland to Wellington on Sunday night says her mind "went to the worst-case scenario" after the plane was struck by lightning.

Air New Zealand flight NZ433 was forced to turn around less than half an hour in, after a fork of lightning "took over the inside and outside of the plane", according to Victoria University student Isabelle Collins.

"It all happened in a second; there was a massive bang and a jolt, and a flash of light," she told Newshub.

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"My mind went to the worst-case scenario as I'd never experienced anything like it, but it was only a few moments before we realised what had happened.

"There were some shouts throughout the cabin, but mostly everyone was silently shocked. After a while people began laughing - probably nervous laughter, but it still lightened the mood."

Flight NZ433 was scheduled to land at Wellington Airport's domestic terminal at about 5:30pm, but the lightning strike forced the aircraft to turn back for engineering checks.

Ms Collins said the call to turn back didn't come until about 10 minutes after the lightning strike occurred - but despite the delay, there were very few complaints.

"Everyone was very good about it considering it was completely fortuitous and beyond anyone's control," she said.

"They continually assured us it was for our safety, and that nothing dangerous appeared to have happened, but the ground crew wanted to make sure."

Ms Collins said the engineering checks were completed very quickly, with the plane back in the air about an hour later.

The flight, originally scheduled for a 5:30pm landing, eventually arrived in Wellington at 7:45pm.


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