Two LA-based flights struck by lightning, forced to divert

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles-based flights for JetBlue and Southwest were struck by lightning amid Thursday's storm and were able to safely divert and land.

JetBlue's Flight 324 to New York-JFK, was struck by lightning around 11 a.m. only minutes after it had left Los Angeles International Airport. There were 153 people on board.

The plane turned around and made a safe landing at LAX.

A Southwest flight from Los Angeles to Portland was also struck by lightning. It diverted and landed safely in Oakland.

"Three to four minutes into the flight or so, we saw out of the corner of our eyes a big flash on the left side of the plane," said Connor Johnson, a passenger on the Southwest jet. "We looked at each other like, did you see that too?"

Experts say it's not unusual for planes to be struck by lightning and modern jets are built to protect passengers and the aircraft's delicate electronics.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.