Lightning hits Croatia Airlines Bombardier
A Croatia Airlines Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 (registration 9A-CQF) was damaged on Wednesday when it was struck by lightning midflight. The aircraft, operating as flight OU330 from Zagreb to Podgorica, made an emergency landing in Dubrovnik. The incident occurred over the Adriatic Sea near Herceg Novi in Montenegro when the lightning struck, making a hole in the fuselage. Window seat passengers reported they observed a flash hitting one of the wings and engines followed by bang after which the aircraft jolted. The cabin crew acted professionally, trying to calm down frightened passengers, some of which were screaming. Following the emergency landing in Dubrovnik the aircraft was deemed unfit for flight.
Strong turbulence was reported throughout the service. Weather conditions were poor especially over the Dubrovnik region and Montenegro itself. The flight experienced rain, lightning and strong winds. All 39 passengers were later ferried to Podgorica by bus. The aircraft was returned to Zagreb the next day but has still not returned to regular service. Croatia Airlines introduced its first Dash 8 aircraft in May 2008. The airline operates a total of six jets from the Canadian manufacturer, which has a capacity to seat 76 passengers.
Thankfully EX-YU national carriers rarely experience mid air emergencies. However, there have been several bizarre incidents in recent times. Earlier in the year, a Croatia Airlines pilot was forced to use butter in order to close the forward door on the carrier’s Dash 8 Q400 on a flight to Istanbul. Passengers observed as the pilot and cabin crew smeared butter over the latch which wouldn’t close properly. In 2011, a Montenegro Airlines Fokker F100 sustained damage after an eagle flew into its nose cone upon landing, causing a big dent.