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Terror at 10,000ft as Lightning Strikes Jet En Route to Gatwick

The nose of the plane was severely damaged, with a 2ft gash, a hole and the metal ripped backBritish holidaymakers spoke of their terror last night after their plane was forced to make an emergency landing when it was struck by lightning.

Passengers on board the Continental Airlines Boeing 757 bound for Gatwick described a "huge explosion" shortly after taking off from Newark airport, just outside New York.

Rachael Bamber, 23, who was travelling on the plane with her boyfriend Shane Hanlon, said: "About five minutes into the flight there was a huge explosion, a flash of white light outside and a loud bang inside.

"People started screaming. I thought: 'Oh my God, we are going to crash.' I screamed out for Shane, and he said we'd probably been struck by lightning.

"Some passengers said they could smell burning, and the girl behind us was in hysterics, screaming and praying and shouting: 'Get me off the plane! Get me off the plane!'

"A couple of minutes later the pilot announced we had been struck by lightning and that we were going back to make an emergency landing."

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs Newark airport, said no injuries had been reported.

Source: This Is London

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