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Lightning strike forces JetBlue emergency landing at LAX: ‘At least WiFi still works’

In this Aug. 23, 2008 file photo, travelers sit at a gate in JetBlue Airways’ new Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
In this Aug. 23, 2008 file photo, travelers sit at a gate in JetBlue Airways’ new Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. ASSOCIATED PRESS

A plane that took off from Los Angeles Thursday was forced to make an emergency landing at Los Angeles International Airport after crew members reported the jet was hit by lightning, federal aviation officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said JetBlue Flight 324 was bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City when it was reportedly struck amid heavy storms that are rolling through Southern California, according to the Associated Press.

The plane — which, like all commercial jets, is built to endure lightning — landed safely Thursday morning, the FAA said.

Philip Stewart, a spokesperson for the airline, said in a statement that the plane safely taxied back to a gate just after 11 a.m., and that the crew “will inspect the aircraft and determine if it may continue on to New York or if customers will be accommodated on another aircraft,” USA Today reports.

FlightAware data shows that the plane was in the air for less than an hour before it made its emergency landing. It took off a few minutes before its scheduled 10:10 a.m. departure time, and landed at LAX 55 minutes later — about four hours earlier than its expected arrival in New York, according to FlightAware.

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An airport spokesperson said the 153-passenger plane was carrying 36,000 pounds of fuel, and that injuries weren’t reported, CBS2 reports.

Thunderstorms and lightning in the area have also forced beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties to shut down for safety reasons, KTLA reports.

On Twitter, people who were apparently passengers on the flight reacted with a mix of nonchalance, humor and surprise.

But one said the experience didn’t even wake her up.

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