On June 20, 2021, shortly after landing at Lomé Airport (LFW) in Togo having carried out a flight from New York (EWR), the United States, the Ethiopian Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner, registered as ET-AOR, was struck by lightning. Passengers had already deplaned, but a technician on the ground was slightly injured and some minor damages to the airport material were reported.
Fearing that the lightning struck was a bad omen, voodoo priests requested to carry out a small ceremony to exorcise the plane so that the incident does not repeat itself. According to the Togolese press, it was necessary to appease Hevioso, a local voodoo deity linked to lightning, fire, and justice, “who strikes down when evil is done.”
“The voodoo priests have their traditions,” explained Colonel Dokissime Gnama Latta, Director General of Togo National Civil Aviation Agency and manager of the airport. “They told us that in cases like that, you have to come and do a little ceremony to exorcise the place so that it does not repeat itself.”
The airport manager authorized the priests to carry out their service, mainly to dismiss any safety concerns or loss of confidence in both the aircraft and the airline from local travelers.
Ethiopian Airlines denied having requested the service themselves.
Following the unusual operation, the aircraft was inspected for damages, before taking off for Addis Ababa (ADD) the next day. No further divine incident was reported.