Lightning Strikes Plane After Takeoff From Oakland

A Southwest Airlines plane landed safely back at Oakland International Airport this morning after being struck by lightning shortly after its departure, airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said.

Southwest Airlines Flight No. 2197 departed from Oakland at 6:30 a.m. and was headed to Burbank when the crew reported that the aircraft had been struck by lightning somewhere near Salinas, Barnes said.

The pilots decided to return to Oakland, where the plane landed safely. Barnes said the pilots did not declare an emergency and that no injuries were reported.

The passengers were taken off the plane and seated on another flight to Burbank, which departed later in the morning, she said.

The incident comes the same week an Air France jet plunged into the Atlantic. Investigators speculate the jumbo jet was caught in a storm and could have been hit by lightning.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines was not immediately available for comment.

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