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World’s Largest Plane, Airbus A380, Struck By Lightning In-Flight

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Airbus A380

Dramatic footage shows the world’s largest commercial plane being hit by lightning bolts in air.

An Airbus 380 landing in Heathrow Airport from Dubai on Thursday was captured being struck by a two bolts of lightning. The footage quickly became a viral sensation, but actually captures a fairly common occurrence.

Commercial airplanes are struck by lightning once a year on average, but this rarely results in an accident.

An airplane’s aluminum body and built-in lightning protection systems guard against equipment failures, fires and explosions.

In fact, of the 140,000 aviation accidents recorded in the history of aviation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) database, lightning caused only 24 crashes.

Of those crashes, the majority occurred on small planes and helicopters and only five of those incidents had fatalities.

The most recent major lightning related crash, occurred in Colombia last August, when a Boeing 737 operated by local carrier Aires, crashed about 260 feet short of the runway at Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport.

The crash broke the fuselage into three pieces, but only one person was killed in the crash.

While Thursday’s lightning strike looks deadly, modern airplanes are built to withstand them. It has been almost 50 years since lightning brought down a plane in the United States.

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By Adriana Padilla for