Subang airport closed after lightning strikes runway

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport in Subang was partially closed for an hour after lightning damaged its runway during a thunderstorm.

Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharud­din Abdul Rahman said lightning yesterday created three holes in the middle of the runway, each one averaging two feet (60cm) in diameter and six inches (15cm) deep. “By 6.15pm, the holes had been patched up and the airport was fully operational again,” Azharud­din told The Star. No aircraft was struck by lightning during the storm yesterday, he said.

A Meteorological Department spokesman said severe thunderstorms were normal during the inter-monsoon season. “Rain will be accompanied by lightning and thunder. The storm also causes a strong downdraft, making it very windy,” he said. It rained from 4pm to 6pm yesterday, pouring heavily for the first hour before easing in the second hour, he added.

Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang was among passengers stranded at the airport due to the lightning strike. His flight to Penang was originally scheduled to depart at 5.30pm, but was postponed to 8.30pm.

The heavy downpour also damaged the broadcast room of the International Broadcast Centre at Putra Stadium here where players were training before the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals this month. A portion of the ceiling caved in in the 5.15pm incident. Building and maintenance workers immediately rushed to the scene. No one was injured as the room was empty when the incident happened.

The rain also caused massive traffic jams and flash floods in several areas of the city.

Source: The Star Online. Wednesday, 5 May 2010