The Ethiopian airliner that suffered a bizarre incident on Thursday is now fully back into operation. The commercial plane Boeing 737-700, registration ET-ALN which was performing flight ET-363 was travelling from Djibouti to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
The aeroplane which was set to land at Dire Dawa was however diverted to Addis Ababa international airport. According to the crew, the plane first encountered a small number of locusts. Despite causing a little obstruction, they decided that the locusts were little enough to prevent them from landing at Dire Dawa.
Minutes later just as they were approaching Dire Dawa airport, another swarm of locust which was this time larger collided with the plane. Some of the locusts got trapped in the engine while others clogged the windscreen reducing the visibility. Despite clearing the locusts off the windscreen, the pilot has said that the visibility was still low.
After trying to land the plane twice at Dire Dawa without success, the plane was diverted. The airliner, however, safely landed at Addis Ababa half an hour later. No damage or casualties were reported following the incident. Passengers who were on board to Dire Dawa boarded another flight to their destination.
The plane was then subjected to a thorough inspection and cleaning. After the inspection, the plane operated a scheduled service to Entebbe, Uganda. With full satisfaction that the plane was fit for flight, it resumed its full duty over the weekend.
For the past two weeks, East Africa has been on the brink of locust attacks. Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda have however been the main casualties of the attacks. The insects are now not only becoming pests as they were considered but also air transport havoc.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the locusts are said to be travelling in a 1 km stretch, consisting of over 80 million locusts. The organisation has also advised the affected governments to be on the lookouts as more locust invasion is expected.