An Air Canada flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv was struck by lightning as it approached Ben Gurion airport during stormy weather on Sunday morning, forcing it to turn around and land in Cyprus, Ynet reported on Monday.
The 300 passengers on board were provided with overnight lodgings, and were are set to depart for Israel at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
Guy Katzovich, one of the passengers, recounted a harrowing experience: “We were approaching Tel Aviv when all of a sudden we started to bounce around, and many people were throwing up, because the plane was rocking from side to side. I saw lightning hit the plane’s right wing, it felt like a nightmare.
“At a certain point the plane did an 180-degree turn, and we felt the plane start a climb, and the distance from Tel Aviv began growing on the navigation screen. After about five minutes, we saw that the destination had been changed to Paphos in Cyprus.”
Air Canada’s office in Israel confirmed the incident, saying, “Lightning struck one of our aircraft yesterday, causing damage to the wing, consequentially grounding the plane. … the pilot decided that he could not land in those conditions with a damaged wing, and thus decided to land in Cyprus.