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'I'm glad to be alive,' says WestJet passenger

July 11, 2016 2:47 P.M.
Sandra Penner (Facebook)


VERNON — Sandra Penner says the next time she has to travel, she will drive.

The Vernon resident was on a flight from Calgary to Kelowna yesterday that was struck by lightning, terrifying passengers and making headlines across the country.

Penner was returning home from Calgary, where she had celebrated her 94-year-old aunt's birthday, when the WesJet plane she was on was slammed by a bolt of electricity.

Penner said she questioned if the plane should have taken flight at all based on how stormy the skies were.

She said before the lightning struck, the plane was “rocking and that was scary in itself. I am not used to flying, so that was a bit of an adventure. It is a trip I won't forget.

“I'm glad to be alive. It was quite nerve wracking especially when these particles flew onto our laps. To me it looked like glass. So the thought goes through your mind the window is coming out. I thought, 'We're doomed.' ”

Penner was certain the material that landed on her and those seated nearby was glass.

“My finger was burning so I am sure it had to be glass. It must have shattered something in there. The windows are very thick, but if that window had of blown out, we wouldn't be here.”

Penner said the sound of the lightning striking the plane was horrifying.

“It was loud. I thought it was a bomb actually,” she said. “When it hit, there was a big bright light. It was so loud and everyone screamed all at once.”

The flight had been airborne for about 15 minutes when it was struck. It returned to Calgary and several hours later, Penner was on another plane bound for Kelowna.

“I was pretty nervous getting on that second plane,” she said. “I'm sure everyone else was as well. I think I'll drive next time.”

Joe Boldt says:
July 12, 2016 08:45am

No one gets struck by lightning, but once in their life. Planes are designed to take a hit by lightning! NO ONE was "doomed" on this flight. Good grief!! Spend some time on google folks and you'll come to learn that engineers OVER DESIGN these airliners. They have to! Thus; why it is safer than driving...except this lady will drive next time. Good luck!?
Even if a window should 'come out'...everyone would know, because the air pressure IN the plane would change...but still, no one is doomed.

Folks, airline personnel train in a detailed manner EACH year; pilots get regular challenging training EVERY 6 months!

If you are every scared when flying WestJet, or are nervous about your upcoming flight; call the company and tell them. That company has gone out of their way to help nervous fliers be able to learn to fly and enjoy it.

Do NOT just go by what is written in the papers! Come on, get real folks!!


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Sam Moorish says:
July 12, 2016 12:32pm

The cabin crew are also fully trained to deal with this kind of thing....Scary...but it can be dealt with safely....
There are many instances of leaks etc. on aircraft where passenger land safely.


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