Airport plunged into darkness by lightning strike
A LIGHTNING strike saw the Coffs Harbour Airport lose power on Wednesday night.
With the runway plunged into darkness around 7pm, a Qantas flight from Sydney was delayed for more than an hour until electricians restored power.
Coffs Harbour Regional Airport Manager Dennis Martin said an air ambulance and freight aircraft were also delayed by the blackout.
"The lightning bolt struck the high voltage supply line to the airport and blew a fuse and circuit breaker and caused a blackout of the runway lights," Mr Martin said.
"The airport was closed for an hour before power was restored around 8.15pm.
"As a high voltage technician worked to restore power the airport was struck multiple times by lightning.
Qantas flight 2118 departed Sydney around 7pm bound for Coffs Harbour when an hour into the flight the pilot alerted passengers the lights were out at Coffs Harbour Airport.
The incident happened as a fierce thunderstorm moved up the coast and centred over the region.
The pilot reportedly told passengers the aircraft had sufficient fuel to stay airborne until 9.05pm with enough in reserve to either reach Port Macquarie Airport or divert back to Sydney.
"The flight hovered around and about and another round of drinks was served," passenger Mike Colreavy said.
"We were eventually notified the lights had been rectified and the plane would land in Coffs at 9.05pm
"Shortly afterwards passengers were further notified that due to more lightning over the airport the plane would follow a path to the north-east to avoid it.
Eventually the plane landed in Coffs Harbour around 9:20pm.
"It was a little bumpy descending through the wild wind storm, which was howling on the tarmac as passengers alighted - most of them glad not to have been stranded in Port Macquarie, or worse back in Sydney," Mr Colreavy said.
Air Services Australia said the Brisbane Airport Tower, which controls airspace over Coffs Harbour from 5.30pm onwards, noted the power outage and it was quickly resolved.