According to research by Dr. Michael Cherington of the Lightning Data Center at St. Anthony Hospital in Denver and his colleagues, it?s possible to be struck by lightning while inside an airplane.

Their report describes the first known case of a flight attendant who suffered long-term effects after he was struck by lightning while seated in the rear section of the plane. There was no damage to the plane or to other passengers.

“Lightning strikes to commercial airplanes in flight are relatively common, yet passengers and crew are seldom injured,” says Cherington. “We believe the case reported here is the first in the medical literature where the occupant of an airplane has suffered long-term effects from a lightning-induced electrical event.”
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A group of engineers plan to fire supersonic jets of salty water towards storm clouds in order to trigger lightning. If it works, they say their system could ultimately be used to protect people and property from lightning strikes.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, says lightning hits around 600 people each year in the U.S., killing 100. The majority of victims are in sports grounds or playgrounds when struck. The strikes lead to $5 million in insurance claims every year, so predicting when and where lightning will strike is important.
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