Airport Lightning Strike in Baltimore Halts Flights, Injures Worker

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 08:16 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Lightning struck Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Thursday, injuring one worker and shutting down flight operations, officials say.

Lightning struck the airport’s air traffic control tower at 2:21 p.m. Thursday. The FAA suspended arrivals and departures until about 4:45 p.m., a BWI spokesman told the Associated Press.

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John Dunkerly, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said that he had just left the tower when the lightning strike, which he said hit a runway, occurred. He said a traffic management coordinator who was turning on equipment in the tower was shocked when the electricity traveled to the tower.

Dunkerly says the worker was taken to a hospital. An FAA official said the worker did not appear to be seriously injured.

The lightning strike dumbfounded the controllers on duty, said Dunkerly, who added that he has never heard of such an incident in nearly 30 years in the industry. It also underscored concerns about safety in the 30-year-old tower, he said.

"We didn't have any idea why it happened," Dunkerly told the Baltimore Sun. "Usually [the towers] are pretty safe during these storms."

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