MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A flight to Spain was forced to return to Miami after the plane’s windshield cracked in severe weather.

Officials said the Air Europa flight took off from Miami International Airport heading to Madrid, Wednesday night.

Two hours after takeoff the pilot was forced to turn around when lighting struck, cracking the window in the cockpit.

Passengers said they saw the flash from the lightning and felt the plane shake and lose altitude before returning to MIA.

“You could see from the big window there that it was all fractured, you know,” said one passenger, “so thank God nothing bad happened.”

According to the airline, the lightning strike damaged the windshield of the plane bad enough that it dipped below 10,000 feet.

“Last night was pretty much a disaster,” said passenger Jamie Thomas. “About an hour or so into the flight, you know, we had some rough turbulence, of course the tropical storm, which was expected, but lightning struck the plane. First we thought they said it was on the wing, but the damage was actually a cracked windshield, so we returned over here.”

The airline said it tried to replace the windshield in time to get the plane back in the air but was unsuccessful.

“If the window had shattered, we would probably have crashed, or at least, the plane would have had a very difficult time returning to the ground,” said passenger Denise Jadd.

All affected passengers were compensated with vouchers for a free flight. The airline is now in the process of rebooking the passengers.

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