An airport lightning strike led to major flight delays at Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) this week after the traffic control tower was hit by a bolt of lightning, leaving an air traffic controller injured. The BWI airport was then closed for over three hours on Thursday, though flights are now starting to get back on track and time schedules, the Inquisitr reports this Friday, Sept. 13.
The massive lightning strike that struck the airport tower touched down around 2:30 in the afternoon, literally shocking an air traffic controller in the tower at the time as he tried to flip an electric switch for the system’s backup generator. A member of the Air Traffic Control board said that the electric shock was enough to drop the worker to his knees, and temporarily lose feelings in both his left leg and left arm.
The air traffic control official was fortunately released on Thursday night from a local hospital with no further injuries, but the airport was decidedly shut down for several hours following the lightning bolt incident. Though done for flyers’ safety, it cause serious delays in flights for both incoming flights and departures.
“We didn’t have any idea why it happened. Usually [the towers] are pretty safe during these storms,” said one airport tower worker. “The plane spent more than two hours on the runway without air conditioning before returning to a gate.”
Another witness added on the airport lightning strike:
“We heard a couple loud booms around the airport. It actually felt like it hit the plane.”
BWI Airport has since been reopened this Friday, and commuters are beginning to move on to their destinations after the flight delays. Airport officials concluded that an investigation into the air traffic controller being injured will be held within the week to help deter future lightning strikes hitting the tower, and how to keep workers safe.