Lightning strikes Qantas flight

A Qantas flight to Kalgoorlie was forced to return to Perth after it was struck by lightning last night.

Flight 1064 left Perth at 5.40pm with 112 passengers on board and had almost reached Kalgoorlie when lightning struck the plane.

The flight returned to Perth where the plane underwent maintenance checks while passengers were transferred to another flight, arriving in Kalgoorlie at 11.23pm the same evening.

A Qantas spokeswoman said it was not uncommon for planes to be struck by lightning when flying through bad weather and aircraft were designed to withstand lightning strikes.

One passenger, who did not want to be named, described it as a "hair-raising" episode.

"There was a massive flash that was it – there was a slight bang and the aircraft went off course just a tad," he said.

"It was white knuckle ride.

"The flight crew appeared in complete control.

"We knew we were going through a storm and I'm normally a comfortable flyer but that was just a little bit hair-raising than normal."

Shortly after the flash the pilot alerted passengers that the plane had been struck by lightning and a return to Perth was inevitable.

Another flyer said she felt nervous as the plane pitched "like a rollercoaster".

"I had a window seat, and looking outside of the window you could see the lightning and there was heaps of turbulence," she said.

She didn't notice the actual strike and only later realised what had happened.

"They mentioned it when they turned (the plane) around," she said.

"Everyone was taking mobile phone vision and everyone was really quiet."

She said she didn't mind the long delay of flying back to Perth and changing planes, saying most passengers were just thankful to arrive safely.

Not everyone had a tense flight, however, with some passengers apparently oblivious to the tumult outside.

"Some people were still asleep," she said.

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