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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Vassia Barba

Passenger describes horror of plane dropping 1,000ft after being hit by lightning

A pregnant woman has described the harrowing experience she and her fellow passengers on a flight experienced as the plane dropped 1,000ft after being hit by lightning.

Susan Zimmerman was aboard Lufthansa Flight 469 from Austin, Texas, US, heading to Frankfurt, Germany, when the aircraft suddenly dropped after the strike.

The Airbus A330 was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport and seven people passengers were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Ms Zimmerman described the frightening incident saying that it felt "like the bottom just dropped out from underneath. Everything was floating up. For a moment, you are weightless".

The turbulence occurred during the middle of meal service and passengers and crew were moving throughout the cabin, said Zimmerman, who is five months pregnant.

Seven people aboard the flight were sent to the hospital after the incident (AP)

She said she still had her seatbelt on and that neither she nor her baby were injured.

Ms Zimmerman told ABC News : “It was all of a sudden we lifted up, and then we started dropping down really fast. It felt like about five seconds of freefall.”

The aircraft was flying at 37,000ft above Tennessee at the time, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“While it was happening, the plates were up, and the ceiling glass was up in the ceiling,” Ms Zimmerman said. “My bag was flown back behind me, and it was kind of like you’re in slow motion.”

Susan Zimmerman was aboard Lufthansa Flight 469 from Texas to Frankfurt (Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

“I'm five months pregnant, so I was honestly thinking I'm never going to meet my daughter,” she said. “I was trying to just keep myself calm so as to not put any further undue stress on her.”

She added that passengers toward the back of the plane appeared to be impacted by the turbulence more severely, as well as the flight crew who were in the middle of serving dinner.

Footage from inside the cabin that was shared on social media showed scattered food boxes and pamphlets on the aisle, while turbulence also caused cups and silverware to be thrown and scattered across the floor.

“Once we were passed the storm, there was nothing else that we had to really worry about,” she said.

Roughly 15 paramedics were waiting at the jet bridge, according to Zimmerman. About six boarded the plane to assist the injured passengers before the passengers fully deplaned.

“You think you're never going to be in a quote-unquote 'Final Destination' situation,” Zimmerman said. “And then here you are.”

Zimmerman, who is pregnant, said in those moments her mind went towards her unborn daughter (AP)

“You think you're never going to be in a quote-unquote 'Final Destination' situation,” Zimmerman said. “And then here you are.”

Another passenger told Washington Post that the aeroplane went into a state of "free fall."

The individual, who chose to remain anonymous due to fears that Lufthansa may not offer compensation, recounted that both individuals and food were propelled into the air, causing damage to the plane's ceiling upon impact.

The passenger disclosed that a fellow traveller seated at the front was severely injured, with blood visibly present, and had to be taken off the plane in a wheelchair.

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