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Airport lightning strike: Lightning shuts down BWI airport for two hours

Airport lightning strike: The Federal Aviation Administration says lightning struck BWI's air traffic control tower at 2:21 p.m. The airport was shut down till 4:45 p.m.

Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Lightning strikes near Portland, Maine, Sept. 11. There were more than 1,000 lightning strikes per hour at the height of the storm, according to the National Weather Service. Trees and power lines were knocked down across the region, and an electric substation was damaged.

Federal officials and the head of an air traffic control group says a worker was hurt when lightning struck BWI Airport, shutting down flight operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration said lightning struck the air traffic control tower at 2:21 p.m. Thursday. The FAA suspended arrivals and departures until about 4:45 p.m., according to a BWI spokesman.

John Dunkerly, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said that he had just left the tower when the lightning strike, which he said hit a runway, occurred. He said a traffic management coordinator who was turning on equipment in the tower was shocked when the electricity traveled to the tower.

Dunkerly says the worker was taken to a hospital. An FAA official said the worker did not appear to be seriously injured.

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