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Lightning-struck COPA Airlines plane lands safely; outgoing passengers stranded

COPA Airlines passenger jet (File photo)

Lightning struck an airborne COPA Airlines plane shortly after it departed Panama Monday, but it continued its journey and landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) without incident, the airline said in a statement.

Just under 100 passengers, who were due to leave Tuesday afternoon for the Central American country, have been stranded until Wednesday afternoon. They are being accommodated at hotels at the expense of COPA Airlines.

A source said the aircraft was damaged by lightning shortly after it departed Panama but the pilot made an assessment and continued his journey to Guyana.

The plane landed safely and on time around 1:46 PM.

According to the source, on arrival the pilot examined the plane and a decision was taken to ground that aircraft and await the arrival of engineers and a replacement plane

The statement reads:

Copa Airlines cancelled its outgoing flight CM255 and grounded its Boeing 737-700 aircraft for a routiinspection after lightning strike hit struck the aircraft en route from Panama. The aircraft continued flying unaffected to Cheddi Jagan International International Airport with its 150 passengers and landed safely. No passenger or crew member was affected.

All of the passengers who were supposed to fly out of Georgetown to Panama at 15:02 today, were properly accommodated in hotels in the city in keeping with Copa’s arrangements and will fly to Panama tomorrow, Wednesday 15th October at 15:02 hrs.