A pilot was hailed a hero after saving a flight from crashing into the North Sea with just seconds to spare after the plane was struck by lightning.
The Loganair flight from Aberdeen to Sumburgh Airport, Shetland, fell to just 1,100ft before the pilot wrestled back control and applied full power.
It was moments from crashing into the icy water on December 14, when bad weather brought thunderstorms with rain, snow, hail and 70mph winds, the Daily Record reports.
The 30 passengers and three crew on the Saab 2000 aircraft sat in terror as it sent itself into a nosedive.
An Air Accident Investigation Branch report said that after the plane was struck by lightning, the co-pilot declared a mayday as the pilot tried to gain height but every move was overridden by the autopilot.
As it reached 4,000ft, the aircraft pitched nose down and fell out of the sky at 9,500ft a minute, the Press and Journal reports.
With just seconds before the plane crashed into the freezing water, the captain managed to lift the plane back into a climb and redirected it back to Aberdeen where it landed safely.
Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, passenger Shona Manson said it was only after the plane landed and the shaken captain came out of the cockpit that she realised how serious the incident could have been.
"It was really, really bumpy. If it was someone who's a bad flyer, it'd be their worst nightmare.
"We were on descent and I said to my partner, we're going back up again, and just as we started to go up again there was an almighty bang and a flash that went over the left wing."
Most bizarre lightning stories
Hero pilot saves flight from crashing into North Sea after plane is struck by lightning
In one of the strangest lightning stories we've ever heard, an entire football team in Congo was killed when lightning struck a pitch during a match. Weirdly their opponents were unharmed, sparking accusations of witchcraft. Newspaper L'Avenir explained: "Lightning killed at a stroke 11 young people aged between 20 and 35 years during a football match. The athletes from Basanga [the home team] curiously came out of this catastrophe unscathed." The Congolese newspaper added that 30 other people received burns at the weekend fixture.
A 20-year-old Colombian man was struck by lightning four times in six months and as a "cure" a local indigenous doctor recommended Alexander Mandón be buried alive in dirt to absorb the electrical charges in his body. Mandón wasn't buried correctly by the residents of Sampués who had to bury him again, this time upright. Mandón was struck three times while serving in the Colombian military, which lead to him being discharged as he was too much of a risk. It was when he was struck a fourth time in his home town outside a cantina that he was left trembling and struggling to walk.
Friday the 13th proved extremely unlucky for one boy in Suffolk, UK, after he was struck by lightning at an air show. But just when you thought the story couldn't get spookier, the teenager, who happened to be 13 years old, was struck at exactly 13:13. The lad was among 150,000 people at the air show and was taken to hospital before being treated for a minor burn. Rex Clarke, St John Ambulance team leader said: "It's all a bit strange that he was 13, and it happened at 13:13 on Friday 13."
An unfortunate biker from Zagreb, Croatia was knocked unconscious when his penis was struck by lightning as he stopped for a roadside toilet break. Ante Djindjic, 29, said: "I don’t remember what happened. One minute I was taking a leak and the next thing I knew I was in hospital. Doctors said the lightning went through my body and because I was wearing rubber boots it earthed itself through my penis." Lucky for Djindjic, medics said there was no long-term damage and his penis "will function normally eventually."
A couple from Germany who decided to get frisky in the bushes had their roadside sex session end in a flash when a large lightning bolt struck just inches away. Jens Gottlieb, 36, and Lisa Gruhn, 28, pulled into a parking space on the busy motorway in North-Rhine Westphalia and after kissing and cuddling decided to head into the nearby bushes. When the lightning struck, the terrified couple ran out of the bush naked. They lost their way back to their car and were spotted by another motorist who called the police before they were helped into dry clothes. Cringe!
A 53-year-old Spanish man was walking down a street in Madrid when he was struck by lightning in the scrotum. Ouch! The man lost consciousness and the bolt travelled down his leg, striking the ground. Paramedics were called and the man was treated for burns to the scrotum and feet. When he was taken to hospital for tests, doctors found that luckily his heart and brain were not affected by the strike.
A woman in Derbyshire, UK escaped with just pins and needles when she was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, thanks to her husband's wellington boots. Deborah Kendall was putting her toddler in the car and put her husband's wellies on while opening an umbrella to step outside into the storm when she saw a sudden white sheet of light. There was a bang at her feet and she was left in shock. Doctors told Deborah that the rubber boots insulated her and stopped the lightning from earthing. She's forever thankful for the £8.50 wellies that she was going to throw out.
An unlucky shopper in a Louisiana supermarket was paying for her weekly shop at the checkout when a flash of lightning hit her. Lakeisha Brooks, 33, heard a loud crash and said: "It dimmed my eyes to where they were burning." Brooks pushed her two-year-old daughter away when the force struck again and blew her shoe off her foot. She suffered burn marks on her left leg and right foot and said the blast felt like hot oil running down her thigh. Lakeisha was taken to hospital and the supermarket was left with a blackened tile where she was standing when the lighting struck.
It's one thing being struck by lightning, but a woman in Croatia had the bolt pass right through her body and exit from her bottom. Natasha Timarovic was brushing her teeth in her bathroom and had her mouth to the tap when the lightning struck, sending the current through her body. As she was wearing rubber-soled shoes, the lightning bolt was unable to earth through her feet and took the next easiest route - through her rectum. She said: "It was incredibly painful, I felt it pass through my torso and then I don’t remember much at all." A medic said: "Instead of earthing through her feet, it appears the electricity shot out of her backside… if she had not been wearing the shoes she would probably have been killed."
Hero pilot saves flight from crashing into North Sea after plane is struck by lightning
We've heard of vomiting bugs in hotels and cruises but rarely on a plane. On a flight from Chile to Sydney in August 2013, 26 passengers became violently ill with gastroenteritis after celebrating at a festival in Brazil and picking up the bug before boarding the plane. Some of the passengers were taken to hospital once the plane landed in Sydney and the plane had to be quarantined and disinfected upon arrival. This is one flight we're really glad we weren't on as the Boeing 747-400 only had eight toilets and the group developed vomiting and diarrhoea.
When you're on a long (and pricey) trans-Atlantic flight, the one thing you don't want to happen is for the plane to run out of toilet paper. Unlucky for passengers on a United Airlines flight from London to San Francisco in June 2013, the toilets ran low on tissue after the airline forgot to restock its supply. The passengers were forced to use cocktail napkins instead of loo paper when nature called and were allegedly told to use what they had brought on board for the 10-hour flight. That's one way for an airline to find itself deep in poo!
We all hate flight delays and even a few hours can leave us peeved, but holidaymakers on a Monarch Airlines plane from Tenerife were stranded on the Canary Island for a whopping 50 hours in August 2012 when their plane suffered a fault. The crew discovered a problem with the door hatch and asked passengers to get off the plane and wait for three hours. They then spent another hour on the plane before being put up in a hotel. A replacement plane eventually flew them to Birmingham.
When a pilot accidentally locked himself in the toilet of a New York-bound flight in 2011, he ended up causing a mid-air 'terror' panic too. When a well-meaning passenger heard the pilot trying to get out of the loo, he offered to help. The pilot asked the man to go to the cockpit and inform the crew of the situation, but the co-pilot was completed spooked by the man's "thick Middle Eastern" accent and refused to let him in, calling a state of emergency. Fighter planes were alerted at the arrival airport and the co-pilot was told to "just get on the ground". When he managed to break out of the toilet the pilot assured air traffic control that there was no threat. But the FBI still waited to meet the plane when it landed and spoke to the poor passenger who just wanted to help.
If you're a non-smoker, you won't be able to think of anything worse than a smoker lighting up a cigarette next to you on a flight. Three Canadian passengers on a Sunwing flight did just that in February 2013 - even though smoking has been banned on aircrafts for more than 15 years. And what's more, they refused to put their cigarettes out and ended up diverting the flight, which was travelling from Halifax to the Dominican Republic, to Bermuda. When the plane landed, their passports were seized by police, while the other passengers continued their journey.
There are times when the pilots are up against nature and have absolutely no control over a situation, such as when lightning strikes. In January 2013, a Turkish Airlines flight carrying 114 passengers was struck by lightning. A passenger filmed the incident, which saw sparks from the plane's engine as it caught fire and the cabin lights flickering on and off. Fortunately, despite the plane catching fire mid-air, it made a safe emergency landing and no-one was injured.
One emergency landing is enough but could you handle two on one flight? That's what "terrified" passengers on a British Airways flight from Saudi Arabia to London endured in August 2013. First the plane was delayed for five hours and in the air for about 40 minutes before making an emergency landing because of a problem with the plane's wing flaps. Then the next day when the passengers boarded the same plane, the problem reoccurred and the flight was aborted a second time. Passengers were reportedly "physically sick and crying" during the landings as the plane had to circle the desert to dump around 20 tonnes of fuel to be the correct weight to land safely.
If the sound of babies crying on a flight is disruptive enough to your journey, you certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to New York, which saw an "unruly" passenger repeatedly sing Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. We've watched the video and the woman is no Whitney Houston! She ended up being handcuffed and removed from the flight - but not before putting the other passengers off Whitney's music for life!
Thought a naughty child kicking your chair was bad? In August 2013, 30 adults created the flight from hell when they ran riot on a Ryanair flight from Prestwick to Ibiza, swearing, threatening and even sexually harassing crew in front of other holidaymakers, including families with young children. The men were warned by police about their behaviour before boarding but this didn't stop their drunken rampage, which saw them shouting and jumping on the seats too.