Sofia Flight Lightning Strike

Engineers in the Bulgarian capital Sofia are repairing a Lufthansa Boeing 737-300 which suffered elevator damage from a lightning strike after departing to Frankfurt.

The aircraft, operating flight LH3431, had taken off from Sofia on 5 April with 44 passengers and six crew members on board.

"Shortly after take-off there was a lightning strike," says a spokesman for Lufthansa. "Since the crew had the feeling that it would be best to check the function of the aircraft, it returned to Sofia."

The aircraft had departed at 18:07 and was back at the gate at 18:35, less than 30min later. Weather data for Sofia Airport at the time shows rain showers and indicates cumulonimbus cloud formation in the vicinity.

Lufthansa has identified the aircraft as being registered D-ABXM, a 21-year old example owned by the carrier.

"It is still in Bulgaria. Personnel are changing some parts of the elevator," says the spokesman. The 737 sustained damage to the inner part of the left-hand elevator trim tab.

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