ATLANTA — Milwaukee passengers said there was no panic on a Delta flight struck by lightning as it headed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Atlanta.
Officials said the pilot had to make an emergency landing in Chattanooga after being hit by lightning Tuesday afternoon. In a statement, Delta said it re-booked passengers onto another Atlanta-bound flight that landed around 11 p.m.
According to a spokesman with the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, 164 people were aboard the MD 90 aircraft.
11Alive caught up with a few passengers once they landed in Atlanta after 11:00 p.m.
Passenger Jason Ruhnke shared what he saw the moment the lightning stuck.
"All of sudden there was a flash of light, the whole cab lit up...and instantly it was over," he said.
Another passenger, Daemon Randall, said the pilot handled the situation very well, saying the overall mood was very calm.
"I was asleep... There was really no panic," Randall said.
A few passengers said the pilot landed the plane "beautifully" and that the pilot was very calm.
Delta Airlines apologized to the passengers for the diversion in a statement saying in part, "The safety of Delta’s customers and crew is always our top priority. The aircraft is undergoing maintenance evaluation while the airline is working to get customers to their destination as quickly as possible."
The company also said although aircraft design allows lightning to be redirected in the event that a plane is hit, their maintenance crews are still checking the plane for any issues.
The incident comes as the first wave of several days of heavy rain, hail, sleet and flooding hits metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
A flood warning is already in effect for Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Floyd, Bartow, Gordon, Cherokee, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Haralson, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Towns, Union and White counties.