Vietnam Airlines Employee Killed By Lightning While Checking Aircraft

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In a tragic accident, an airport worker was killed by lighting yesterday in Vietnam. The 40-year-old worker got electrocuted when a stray bolt hit the wing of an aircraft he was working on. He died on the way to the hospital from his injuries. 

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The man was working on a Vietnam Airlines jet when the accident occurred. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

How did this happen?

According to press coverage, the man was attempting to check an aircraft’s wing during stormy conditions at around six in the evening local time. Then, the unthinkable happened; lighting hit the right wing of the plane and transferred its power into his body. This is the first time this type of freak accident has happened in Vietnam.

The man was an airport-based maintenance worker for Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company, owned by Vietnam Airlines. He was performing last-minute checks to one of the airline’s aircraft when the event occurred.

He was attended to on the scene and transported to a nearby hospital. Alas, he died on the way.

A source has said that the Facebook page for the worker’s group has left a message “To our brother, may your soul rest in peace.”

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The crewman was touching the right wing of the plane, which was struck. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

Trần Hoài Phương, director of Vietnam’s Northern Airports Authority, reportedly said,

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“The accident was a very sad and rare case. This was the first time a technical worker has been killed by lightning at the airport. The airport has sufficient and standard lightning protection systems and all equipment at the airport is checked regularly to ensure safety.”

During stormy weather, aircraft workers use hand signals to communicate rather than radios and headphones, as the apparatus can attract lightning.

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What happens when lightning hits a plane?

For those reading who wonder what happened to the aircraft, it will be repaired and resume standard service.

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When lighting hits an aircraft, several things occur. First, there is the point where the lightning enters the aircraft. Most planes have a thick enough shell that any components, wiring, or passengers inside are protected. The lighting generally passes around the surface of the aircraft (not through it) looking for access to the ground (or if flying, the bottom of the plane).

When an aircraft is on the ground is the most dangerous. If anyone is outside of the plane, the lightning may jump from the aircraft (which is higher in the sky) to workers, as they provide an ample opportunity to reach the ground faster.

There thankfully has not been a disaster involving lighting strikes in decades, with the last occurring in 1967. 

Simple Flying offers its condolences to the mans surviving family and highlights the brave and rarely rewarded job that the ground crew performs in all manner of conditions.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments down below.

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