A Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 crashed minutes after an early-morning take off from Addis Ababa yesterday, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board, Ethiopian Airlines said as world leaders offered condolences to distraught next-of-kin.
People from 35 countries and a UN passport-holder were on board flight ET 302 which ploughed into a field 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, the carrier’s CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told journalists in the capital, lamenting this “very sad and tragic day”.
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s largest carrier, said the ill-fated Boeing 737-800MAX had taken off at 8:38am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later.
Scheduled to land in Nairobi at 10:25am (0725 GMT), it came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.
An AFP reporter said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely. Rescue crews were retrieving human remains from the wreckage. Ethiopian Airlines confirmed “there are no survivors”, adding it was too early to speculate about the cause of the crash.
Police and troops were on the scene, as well as a crash investigation team from Ethiopia’s civil aviation agency.
In the Kenyan capital, family members, friends, and colleagues of passengers waited for news at the airport.
Ethiopian Airlines said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia with nine, then Italy, China, and the United States with eight each. Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, and Germany five. Twelve countries in Africa, and 14 in Europe had citizens among the victims.
African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat spoke of “utter shock and immense sadness”, while Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office tweeted it “would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones.”
Victims of Sunday’s Ethiopian airlines crash were from at least 35 nations, according to Kenya’s Transport Minister. Kenya had 32 nationals aboard flight ET 302 which crashed Sunday morning en route to Nairobi. Kenya’s Transport Minister, James Macharia addressed a news conference Sunday.
“We can now confirm that there were at least 35 nationalities, and I’m saying at least because as of now two are unknown. Among the most affected, as you may expect, is Kenya which had about 32 passengers on board out of the 149 passengers. Other nationalities involved, with number of passengers in the flight, were Canada with 18, China with eight, Netherlands with five, Egypt with six, Ethiopia with nine, France and the UK with seven each, India with four, Italy with eight. Then we have Slovakia with four, the U.S.A with eight. The other nationalities had one or two passengers on board”, he said.
Author: Staff Writer