A pilot in Zambia is hailed for a heroic accomplishment on Monday when he managed to land a Dash 8-300 aircraft safely, with 41 passengers on board, after the plane got hit by hailstorm and possibly lightning.
The incident occurred as the plane from the tourist town of Livingstone, which belongs to the local airline Proflight, was approaching the capital, Lusaka.
When it plunged into a hailstorm that destroyed its nose cone, the aircraft was flying at around 19,000 ft (5,791 m) above sea level. But the pilot was able to navigate through the storm and landed at the international airport of Kenneth Kaunda.
Local news site Mwebantu tweeted a picture of the damaged aircraft. Phil Lemba, Proflight’s top manager, expressed his delight on knowing that all the passengers arrived safely.
Phil Lemba, Proflight’s top manager, expressed his delight on knowing that all the passengers arrived safely.
“Our plane, which was carrying 41 passengers, was hit by lightning around 15:20 hours as the plane was approaching Lusaka,” Mr Lemba told the local Daily Mail paper.
“Because of the design of the plane, there was not much damage to the plane. The aircraft structure has static lightning dispersers,” he said.
The airline, in an official statement, stated that the damage caused by the hailstorm was significant. He also said that a lightning strike also likely occurred, but this could not be verified until a closer examination of the aircraft was carried out. The pilot was lauded on social media.