This is the terrifying moment bolts of lighting forced a Thomas Cook plane with 139 passengers onboard to turn around after hitting the aircraft’s wing.
The Manchester to Banjul, Gambia flight was less than 54 seconds into the journey when it entered storm clouds and was struck by lightning.
Dramatic video footage and photos from the incident show the electric charge bouncing off the wing off the plane.
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A wiry bolt of lightning hit the Thomas Cook seconds after takeoff from Manchester International Airport. The plane has to return to Manchester and delayed the passengers on board by hours
Flight MT1140 left Manchester International Airport at 9.22pm, ascending into an ominous grey cloud.
A passenger over the right wing of the plane films footage of the outside as the cloud gets darker.
Suddenly, a bright pink flash fills the small plane window, before a bolt of lighting is seen pinging off the wing of the plane.
The pilot continues to ascend out of clouds, and no one appears to have been hurt by the flash.
However, due to safety concerns the flight was diverted back to Manchester Airport after flying as far as France.
The plane managed to make it over the Bay of Biscay before having to turn around because it had to offload the required amount of fuel before returning to make a safe landing.
The plane is seen returning to Manchester airport, it made it as far as France before turning around because the pilot had to offload enough fuel in order to land safely upon return
‘The aircraft is equipped to safely withstand lightning and a full inspection was undertaken by our Manchester hangar engineers’ said a spokesperson
A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said that passenger safety was the airline’s priority which forced the aircraft to return from its journey to Banjul (Stock photo)
Passengers were then put onto a different flight later that night.
A Thomas Cook Airlines spokeswoman said: ‘Flight MT1140 from Manchester to Banjul returned to Manchester shortly after take-off following a lightning strike.
‘The aircraft is equipped to safely withstand lightning and a full inspection was undertaken by our Manchester hangar engineers.
‘The safety of our customers and crew is always our first priority and we are sorry for the delay and inconvenience caused.
‘Customers departed Manchester later in the evening on a different aircraft.’