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Two planes forced to turn back to Zurich as wild storms hit Switzerland

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Two planes forced to turn back to Zurich as wild storms hit Switzerland
The flight path of LX 724 to Amsterdam on Tuesday, Screen grab: Flightradar 24
09:48 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: Two Swiss International Air Lines flights were forced to return to Zurich after being hit by lightning as wild storms hit Switzerland on Tuesday.

The flights were Swiss flight LX2084 to Lisbon and LX 724 to Amsterdam.

Both were forced to turn back to Zurich after being struck by lightning in the early afternoon, with an airline spokesperson said this was standard procedure in such circumstances.

"We heard a large bang over western Switzerland and the cabin was lit up by a lightning strike," one passenger told the news site 20 Minuten.

The passenger said that there had been plenty of turbulence because of stormy weather. However, after the lightning strike, the plane's captain reported that everything was order and all instruments were functioning correctly.

The two incidents came after departures from Zurich Airport were temporarily suspended on Tuesday morning after airport management ruled conditions were too dangerous for staff to work outside. 

Around 40 flights were delayed by up to an hour and a half as a result. Flights were able to resume at 8.12am, the airport said in a tweet.

Storms also forced the shutdown of Switzerland's Beznau I nuclear reactor, which was offline for several hours after a lightning strike damaged equipment.  

There was no danger to staff or the general public, operators said of the shutdown which lasted until just after 3pm.

Meanwhile, police in the canton of Bern said they had received 45 calls between 3pm and 5pm as storms struck the region. Most related to fallen trees or flooded cellars, police said.

The tourist centre of Interlaken in canton Bern was hit by winds of up to 109 kilometres per hour while St-Prex on Lake Geneva saw wind gusts of 98 km/h, SRF Meteo reported.

Earlier in the day, SRF Meteo said the country had been hit by 17,000 lightning strikes from midnight on Monday to late morning on Tuesday.

 
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