A plane was diverted to Gatwick after being struck by lightning


A passenger plane was forced to carry out an unexpected landing after being struck by lightning.

The flight from Manchester to Agadir in Morocco was diverted to London Gatwick.

The Boeing 737-800 took off from Manchester at 6.42pm on Thursday before the incident occurred.

(Al Key/AP)

A spokeswoman for Thomson Airways said it was an "extremely rare" event.

"Thomson Airways would like to apologise for any inconvenience to our customers on board flight TOM732 travelling from Manchester airport to Agadir in Morocco, which was diverted to London Gatwick airport as a precautionary measure due to adverse weather," she said.

"The flight departed from London Gatwick airport as quickly as possible afterwards and customers have arrived safely in Morocco."

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: "Aircraft are built to withstand lightning strikes, so significant damage to the airframe is very rare.

Thomson plane
(Dave Thompson/PA)

"If an aircraft does suffer a lightning strike it will be thoroughly inspected by engineers once on the ground before being released back into service.

"Weather radar installed in the aircraft can help pilots monitor areas where lightning activity is likely and so, if possible, take avoiding action."