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Hollande's Flight to Merkel Hit by Lightning (No Joke)

French officials say that new President Francois Hollande's plane was hit by lightningen route to Berlin. They say no one was hurt but that the plane returned to Paris as a precaution.

Francois Hollande, Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, speaks in a gymnasium during a visit on January 29, 2012 in Paris, during the traditional Chinese New Year festivities in the French capital.
Afp
Francois Hollande, Socialist Party (PS) candidate for the 2012 French presidential election, speaks in a gymnasium during a visit on January 29, 2012 in Paris, during the traditional Chinese New Year festivities in the French capital.

French Defense Ministry spokesman Gerard Gachet said the Falcon 7X aircraft was struck by lightning shortly after take-off Tuesday, and returned to the Villacoublay air base for inspection.

Defense officials say the president and his entourage were transferred to another aircraft, a Falcon 900, and took off shortly thereafter.

Hollande, 57, took office earlier Tuesday. He was due to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Europe's financial crisis.

It was a stormy presidential beginning for a man who promised to be a more "normal" president and less flashy than predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.