12 Mar 2017

Plane diverted after being hit by lightning

5:16 pm on 12 March 2017

An Air New Zealand plane flying from Wellington to Dunedin had to divert to Christchurch after it was struck by lightning.

The plane was hit not long after leaving the capital early this morning.

It was diverted to Christchurch, where an engineer checked for any damage.

Passengers were moved onto another flight and left for Dunedin about 45 minutes after landing in Christchurch.

One of the passengers, Luke Fitzmaurice, said people were nervous but the pilot reassured them the plane was safe.

"Not that long after we'd taken off, flying through the clouds and there was this big bright flash out the right hand side window, big white flash and a bang at the same time, plane shook a little bit but not too much and then after a couple of minutes the pilot came on to say that it had been lightning and they're doing some checks."

Mr Fitzmaurice said the flight staff were very impressive in the way that they handled the situation.