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December 11, 2019
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Paphos-bound plane hit by lightning

A plane that landed at Paphos International Airport was struck by lightning on Tuesday, with reports saying Ryanair passengers were unharmed during the incident.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Boeing 737-8AS en route to Cyprus and operated by Ryanair took off in Latvia from Riga International Airport. According to Philenews, lightning struck the plane mid-flight during severe weather in Cypriot airspace.

Passengers were reportedly unaware of the strike during the flight, while the plane landed without an incident at PFO at 9.45 p.m.

An inspection revealed that the aircraft had minor problems in some of the mechanical systems following the lightning strike, with a maintenance crew working all night to repair the damages.

For safety reasons, planes hit by lightning mid-flight undergo inspection after landing while in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.

Lightning typically strikes a relatively sharp edge of a plane, like a wingtip or nose, and the current exits through the tail in the back, by design. Newer airliners, such as Boeing 787 and Airbus 350, are made with more composite materials that reduce electrical connectivity further.

Experts say lightning strikes are not a serious problem in terms of safety. Pilots are more likely to route around stormy areas to prevent turbulence or possible external damage caused by hail than to avoid lightning.

Weather officials said poor weather conditions in Greece and southern Italy were pushing low pressure systems further into areas over Cyprus, while no direct impact is expected over the island. [Kathimerini Cyprus]

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