Ground crew member struck by lightning in Manila

A member of the ground crew at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila was injured when lightning struck the ladder he was standing on at Terminal 1.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal identified the injured ground handler as Joel Arejola, 30, a worker of Macro Asia Company.

Arejola was assisted by the MIAA medical team and brought to a hospital after the lightning struck him around 7pm, throwing him off the ladder and causing abrasions to his leg.

 “That is basically the reason why we are implementing this warning, the red lightning alert, to ensure that the passengers, the workers specifically, are safe because they are pre-warned or forewarned because of these incidents that are coming,” said Monreal.

A red alert is a warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) when lightning strike activity in the area is heavy and there is a possibility of danger to personnel, passengers and general flight operations.

A prolonged alert of this kind could cause delays in flight operations – ramp movement being temporarily suspended, with personnel and passengers advised to leave the ramp area.

The MIAA did give assurances that NAIA is safe from lightning strikes, as it is equipped with 20 lightning arresters to absorb the lightning and divert it into the ground harmlessly.