OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – A Southwest Airlines plane was struck by lightning but passed a safety inspection after it returned safely to Oakland International Airport.

Airline spokeswoman Marilee McInnis says the pilot turned around the plane after it was struck early Wednesday because the airline has a maintenance hub in Oakland.

She says the 53 passengers aboard Flight 2197 to Burbank, Calif., were booked on the next flight.

McInnis says lightning strikes aren’t unusual and planes are built to withstand such a jolt.

An Air France jet on its way to Paris from Brazil crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday after flying into storms. It’s unknown what caused its electrical systems and cabin pressure to fail.

AP-ES-06-03-09 1921EDT


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