American Airlines flight diverted because of lightning

Story highlights

  • American Airlines Flight 4233 with 55 passengers diverted to New York JFK airport after it reported a lightning strike
  • The plane, an Embraer E170 operated by Republic Airlines, had departed from Raleigh-Durham for New York's LaGuardia
  • "It was a flash of light and a big explosion," a passenger told CNN affiliate WABC

(CNN)A flight headed to LaGuardia Airport in New York City was diverted Thursday after reporting a lightning strike.

American Airlines Flight 4233 -- an Embraer E170 with 55 passengers -- landed safely at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport shortly after 6 p.m. ET, according to a statement from the FAA.
    No injuries were reported.
    "It was a flash of light and a big explosion and it just felt like we were on a roller coaster," passenger Lou Luca told CNN affiliate WABC. "And then I smelled smoke. The pilot didn't say anything for about five minutes and after five minutes, he said everything was fine. ... I was very scared. I thought the world was ending. I really thought that that was it."
    The flight, which was operated by Republic Airlines, had departed from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.
    The FAA said it would investigate the incident.