Francois Hollande, the new Socialist French president, had to delay his Tuesday flight considerably when his plane was struck by lightning. The delay made him two hours late for an important first meeting with the German Chancellor.
Francois Hollande and his presidential entourage were heading to Berlin, Germany in a Falcon 7X aircraft when, shortly after takeoff, the plane was struck by lightning. As a safety precaution, the aircraft headed back to French Villacoublay air base to be inspected.
No one was hurt, Defense Ministry spokesman Gerard Gachet told the Associated Press. Hollande and his entourage headed back to Germany in a Falcon 900 for the meeting, for which the French President was hours late, according to Reuters.
The meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel could have been foreshadowed by the storm; their discussion about whether to continue down a path of austerity for Europe- and how to save the Euro- was sure to be a tough one to navigate.
Efforts to unite Greece under one government earlier Tuesday collapsed, exacerbating the already turbulent situation Hollande has inherited with the French presidency.
Hollande, so far, has had a stormy time in office- both figuratively and literally. The French head of state was doused several times while attending to official business.
While in an open-topped car for his inaugural parade, a freak summer rainstorm soaked Hollande totally. Later, at an outdoor ceremony, the French president was dripped on again by sun showers.
After his trip to Germany being delayed by a lightning strike, Hollande stepped off the Falcon 900 to sunny Berlin skies- only to have storm clouds gather again. The President had to change suits several times.
The stormy incidences have been made into a running joke by French press, whose Le Canard Enchaine used the word "soaked" to mean corrupt. Another common joke was that the "lightning bolt" that hit Hollande's plane- representing love at first sight, in their culture- was indicative of the president's soon-to-be close relationship with the German Chancellor during the Euro debt crisis.