Lightning strike disrupts Gatwick Airport flights

Lightning strike off the coast of Bognor Regis
Image caption Thunderstorms swept across the South East on Tuesday

Passengers faced disruption after lightning struck the control tower at Gatwick Airport.

The airport said the tower was hit at about 1400 BST during thunderstorms that swept across the South East.

A spokeswoman said departing flights were delayed on Tuesday afternoon by the lightning, weather conditions and surges on the local power grid.

She said there were no cancellations and arrivals had not been affected by the stormy conditions.

Trains delayed

"There is no damage, as far as I'm aware, and no injuries," the spokeswoman continued.

"Everything is up and running and has been since 1445 BST. Departing flights were suspended momentarily for 25 minutes."

A spokeswoman for National Air Traffic Services (Nats) said: "One part of the system was knocked out for about 10 minutes.

"The lightning had a minor effect but the main reason for the delays was the thunderstorms which the pilots want to fly round rather than through."

Passengers on the Gatwick Express, between the airport and London Victoria station, were also warned to expect some delays after lightning strikes caused signalling problems.

House fire

Image caption The fire is believed to have been started by a lightning strike (Photo courtesy Crawley News)

Southern Railway said its services had also been disrupted.

In a statement on its website, the firm said: "Southern services are being disrupted on the Brighton Main Line due to lightning strikes.

"Passengers should expect delays of up to 30 minutes currently with short notice alterations and cancellations."

Firefighters have been dealing with a house fire in the Maidenbower area of Crawley that is also believed to have been caused by a lightning strike.

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