Plane hit by rare lightning phenomenon after hurricane hunters fly into storm
Terrifying footage has emerged of a plane being repeatedly hit by a rare lightning phenomenon after flying through a storm.
Daredevils on board the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) plane Kermit were flying across the North Atlantic and captured the stomach-churning scene in the sky.
Lt Josh Rannenberg, who filmed the spectacular view, shared the footage online of the luminous branch-like plasma shooting out in the sky.
Thick plumes of clouds are visible from the window of the plane as the pilot struggles to stabilise the plane.
The monitor panels keep flashing as the crew risk their lives to make a safe journey.
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A glowing purple light known as St Elmo's Fire appears next to the cockpit while the storm chasers fly through the lightning storm.
St Elmo's Fire is a weather phenomenon of a persistent blue glow that occasionally appears near pointy objects during storms, according to Live Science.
It tends to take place in stormy conditions but it's a distinct phenomenon from lightning and doesn't burn or present any immediate danger to sailors and hikers.
NOAA's Aircraft Operation Center tweeted yesterday: "Over the North Atlantic – Crew of #NOAA42 Kermit recorded St. Elmo's fire (weather phenomenon) during their 15 February winter storm flight for the Ocean Winds research project."
Viewers were amazed by the researchers' dedication and branded them "heroes of the science 2020".
One thanked Lt Rannenberg for posting the video and commented: "Always be safe and thanks for sharing the story."
Another one said: "It's super cool."
While it is not clear exactly what storm the Kermit was flying in, Storm Dennis was in the same region on February 15.
The same storm has caused carnage across the UK in recent days, with consistent rain causing widespread flooding.
Winds also appeared to be so strong that a lighthouse was filmed swaying. Viewers of the viral clip were left baffled but some believed all was not as it seemed.
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