January 03,2019 – Normal operations have resumed at Entebbe International Airport, eleven hours after a runway excursion involving an Ethiopian Airways Boeing 737-800.
Flight ET338 veered off the end of Entebbe’s runway 17 soon after landing at 12.35 am local time. There were no fatalities or injuries to the occupants who got off the aircraft using normal air stairs.
The flight with 139 passengers and crew departed Addis for Entebbe at 11.03 pm local and reached a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet according to data from the flight tracking site Flight Aware. The aircraft maintained a cruise speed of 513 miles per hour until it began its descent one hour and sixteen minutes later. That speed though just 70 miles below the maximum operating speed of the 737-800 appears to be routine for Ethiopian’s pilots on that sector. Speed increased slightly to 520 mph two minutes after onset of descent. At 8000 feet above sea level, which is just 4128 feet above ground level at Entebbe, the plane was travelling at 272 miles per hour. It touched down at 212 miles, too far down the runway according to sources at Entebbe.
The incident disrupted operations with inbound flights diverted to Nairobi.
In a statement, Ethiopian says the incident did not cause structural damage to the aircraft which has now been towed to the ramp. The carrier added that it was making arrangements to re-book passengers that were scheduled to travel on the return flight.
This is the second incident involving an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft at Entebbe. In March 2005, a Cargo Plus Aviation Boeing 707-300 on wet-lease by Ethiopian crashed into Lake Victoria after it undershot the southern end of runway 17. All six occupants of the aircraft survived and where rescued from the wreckage. The aircraft was trying to land at dawn during a heavy downpour.