a large passenger jet flying through a cloudy sky: The incident happened as strong winds and rain hit Southland.


© Getty.
The incident happened as strong winds and rain hit Southland.

A weekend Air New Zealand flight from Invercargill was struck by lightning shortly after take-off, although no injuries or damage were reported.

Flight NZ 696, a direct service to Auckland, was just moments into its flight on Sunday afternoon when the incident happened.

The flight was being operated by an Airbus A320 with registration ZK-NHB. 

Newshub’s Travel Editor Dan Lake was onboard and said it happened so fast that many passengers may not have even noticed it.




a view of a snow covered mountain


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“There was a bright flash of white and a rumbling sound, and the screens and lights flickered a bit. It was just like when you have a power surge at home, but other than that, it wasn’t very dramatic at all,” said Lake.

A passenger sitting next to him had noise-cancelling headphones on and didn’t notice a thing.




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Air NZ has confirmed the incident in a statement.

“I can confirm flight NZ696 Invercargill to Auckland did experience a lightning strike. Lightning strikes are not uncommon – aircraft are designed with this in mind and our pilots train for this scenario,” a spokesperson told Newshub.

Flights out of Invercargill were operating as scheduled on Sunday, but a forecast of strong winds, rain and snow may cause delays or cancellations on Monday and Tuesday.