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Student captures footage of planes struck by lightning over Seattle

Owen Craft captured the footage of lightning striking two Alaska Air planes while they were preparing to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

By Ben Hooper

SEATTLE, April 3 (UPI) -- A Washington state student filming a Seattle thunderstorm captured footage of lightning striking two planes as they approached the airport.

Owen Craft, a University of Washington student, said he was trying to catch lightning strikes on camera Wednesday night in the University District when he ended up capturing footage of two plans being struck by lightning during their approaches to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

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"I was stunned for a second because I couldn't believe what I just saw," Craft told KOMO-TV. "After the second [plane] got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!"

The planes were later identified as Alaska Air Flight 515 from Orange County and Alaska Air Flight 731 from Houston.

Kim Dodge, a passenger on Flight 731, said she was looking out the window at the time of the strike. "We were flying in and out of clouds, sunshine then darkness, sunshine then darkness," she said. "I was looking out the window when I saw this bright flash and this streak of lightning hit the top-middle of the right wing near the engine." 

"I think it hit the wing because there was an immediate loud crack and the cabin was bright for that brief second," she said. "There was this loud gasp in the cabin after it happened. The people behind me were starting to worry if it was going to affect the landing. It didn't."

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Airport officials said the passengers were never in danger, as jets are built to withstand lightning strikes.

"Airplanes themselves are prepared for this kind of stuff and have the mechanics to manage lightning strikes," Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper told ABC News. "We did not receive any reports of precautionary landing alerts from any pilots Wednesday night either."

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