Ideally, when a plane is hit by lightning mid-flight they undergo a thorough inspection after landing and in most cases, the aircraft is either unharmed or sustains only minor damage.
But for Ethiopian Airlines B787 Dreamliner aircraft, the company decided to take those inspections a notch further by inviting local voodoo practitioners in the area to perform rituals “to cleanse the aircraft of evil spirits”.
The aircraft was reportedly hit by thunder lightning in the Togolese capital Lome on approach to landing.
However, lightning strikes to aircraft are much more common than one might think, experts say.
Planes all over the world get struck by lightning almost daily. An airplane in commercial service is hit by lightning on average once per year.
While some travelers may find the experience unpleasant, modern jetliners are designed to cope with lightning strikes. They go through specific lightning tests to make sure they can withstand hits as part of their certification.
The incident which was supposed to attract sympathy has sparked hilarious reactions from netizens many of whom wondered why involving the so-called traditional authorities was important.
“This is funny! Lightning strikes on planes are not uncommon. This causes no damage to the plane whatsoever! The fuselage of a plane is basically one huge lightning conductor!” wrote Billy Rwothungeyo, a Twitter user.
“Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso have the largest population of traditional African religious persons. In Burkina Faso they make about 60 percent of the population, then Muslims and Christians. So it’s not about the lightning conductor. It’s about prevailing beliefs,” another user wrote.
“Honestly, I love my African people and the cultures. At least, they have tried to do something to help with a genuine interest. it doesn’t matter whether it has worked or not. Proud African!!” aboma Jote from Ethiopia commented.