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Lightning Strike Blamed on Volcano

November 06, 1996| Reuters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A rare lightning strike that damaged a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft flying over the Alaska Peninsula may have been caused by recent eruptions of Pavlof Volcano, officials said Tuesday.

The incident occurred Monday when the Coast Guard aircraft, a C-130, was on patrol to check for possible pollution from a crabbing vessel that sank over the weekend.

No crew members were hurt, but two of the plane's radar units and its nose were severely damaged by the lightning, said Kenneth Arbogast, a spokesman for the Coast Guard's Kodiak station.

The C-130 was flying north of Pavlof Volcano, an 8,242-foot peak that had a powerful eruption Monday morning.

Pavlof, which has been erupting sporadically since mid-September, shot ash 25,000 feet into the air Monday, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Lightning is unusual in that part of Alaska, but volcanic ash in the area can create a static charge that can cause lightning, he said.

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