A Charlotte-bound flight was diverted to Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday evening due to strong storms over the Queen City. As if landing in South Carolina against your will isn’t bad enough, a storm developed over Columbia and zapped a passenger as she got off the U.S. Airways Express flight.
U.S. Airways Express flight 5137 completed its flight from Hartford, Connecticut, to Charlotte, but the flight landed in Columbia due to bad weather. Diversions aren’t too unusual when bad weather affects a major hub, especially when it comes to regional jets with smaller fuel tanks, but it is unusual that the storms exact revenge on the storm-weary travelers.
Local news stations are short on details, but they all report that the woman was listed in stable condition at a Columbia hospital after the incident, a fate I would prefer to being stuck in Concourse E with 15,000 other people for hours on end while the toxic combination of fumes from Mrs. Fields’ cookies and Axe body spray wafts through the terminal.
Almost every commercial airplane is struck by lightning at least once in its lifetime, but much more often for those that travel through stormy parts of the world. Commercial airplanes are designed to handle most lightning strikes with ease, and airlines pump inert gasses into the tanks of larger planes so sparks don’t trigger explosions. Passengers are completely safe in an airplane when lightning strikes, but not so much when they’re getting out of one, apparently.
[Image: Getty Images | Correction: American Airlines informs me that the flight was under the U.S. Airways Express branding, not American Eagle as originally stated in the article.]