An Ethiopian airliner on Thursday diverted to Addis Ababa Airport after colliding with a swarm of locust midair.
The plane, Boeing 737-700, registration ET-ALN performing flight ET-363 was flying from Djibouti to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.
A spokesman for the airline confirmed that the plane was diverted by the swarm of insects
Pilots were preparing to land the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Djibouti to Dire Dawa on Thursday when clouds of insects slammed into the plane’s engines, windshield and nose.
They tried in vain to clean the windscreen with the plane’s wipers. Thirty minutes later the plane landed safely but in the capital Addis Ababa instead, Aero-News, a multi-channel aviation digital hub reported.
No casualties were reported and the Dire Dawa bound passengers had another flight.
Various sources reported that the plane was grounded for a couple of hours as it underwent thorough inspection and cleaning. However, no damage was reported.
After the inspection, it operated a scheduled service between Addis Ababa and Entebbe, Uganda, before resuming full service over the weekend.
East Africa has been plagued with desert locusts for that last two weeks with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warning of the destructive pests.
Affected countries include Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia. In Ethiopia’s northern Amhara state some farmers have lost “nearly 100%” of their crop of the staple grain, teff, the UN says.
According to FAO, the swarms can be up to one-kilometre-wide consisting of about 80 million locusts.