Ethiopian passenger plane forced to divert after flying into swarm of locusts
An Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane is reported to have diverted to the capital Addis Ababa instead of a scheduled landing in the chartered city of Dire Dawa after it ran into a swarm of grasshoppers.
The decision to divert to Addis Ababa was due to reduced visibility despite efforts by the pilots to clean the windscreens upon impact with the locusts.
According to the BBC, a spokesman for the airline confirmed that the plane was diverted by the swarm of insects but did not give further details of Thursday’s incident.
The incident comes at a time various regions of Kenya have been invaded by swarms of locust which have left a trail of devastation that is causing food security concerns in the country.
Former Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri, last week said the pest invasion and its potential for rapid spread to other countries poses an unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods in the country.
The government is spraying pesticide in the affected areas to battle the insects.
Kiunjuri, who has since been sacked by President Uhuru Kenyatta, said the migratory nature of the locusts made it even more difficult to deal with.
“The fight against this invasion is not without challenges, first of all they are trans-boundary pests that need to be tackled through a regional strategy to ensure that they are attacked from their resting habitats,” Kiunjuri said back then.