April 18, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A SkyWest passengers on their way to Denver from Watertown South Dakota got some unexpected layover time in Pierre shortly after takeoff and passing through a thunder storm over Watertown.
Pierre Airport Manager Mike Issacs says thunderstorms moving through the Watertown area impacted the plane.
“It was my understanding they had a lightning strike about 10 miles outside of Watertown and they flew in here without incident and landed and then when the pilots inspected the plane, they found their tail feathers sticking up. They had a hole in the tail because of the lightning.”
Issacs says the afternoon flight out of Pierre was rescheduled but wasn’t sure how SkyWest was going to going to get the Watertown passengers on to Denver. He says the damaged plane will spend some extra time in Pierre to be repaired.
“They cancelled that initial flight. They rescheduled all the folks on a different afternoon flight and I’m not sure at this time if they are sending a shadow flight in to pick up the extra customers or not.
With this B-25 landing today, I haven’t been able to be in touch with them too much, but…they are going to park it over at the F-B-O. They’re going to have some maintenance people fly in at 1:30 today, look at it and do temporary repairs to patch it up to ferry it over to Denver.”
The weather has been a hampering air travel in the last few weeks and Issacs says the lightning strike doesn’t help that, but since SkyWest has taken over the Essential Air Service route between Watertown, Pierre and Denver, service has been excellent.
Just the week before a blizzard that lasted for three days passed through the area. It dumped about 2 and 1/2 feet of snow in Watertown.
Essential Air Service had filled bankruptcy last year leaving the Watertown airport without air service.
SkyWest Airlines is a North American regional airline headquartered in St. George, Utah. SkyWest is classified as one of the major airlines of the United States. … SkyWest currently operates on a pro-rate basis on 68 routes across 10 hubs through agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines.
“The flights are at least half full all the time. Today’s of course was full. A lot of flights are full, so it’s taking off really quick.”
A SkyWest jet was seen departing from Pierre Regional Airport around 1:15 pm. The normal afternoon flight departure is just after 2:00 pm Central Time. The number of impacted passengers is not known. No one on the plane was injured.
credit: In part with http://www.todayskccr.com/skywest-flight-struck-by-lightning-after-watertown-take-off/