Home World Africa news Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crashes Near Addis Ababa Killing All on Board

Ethiopian Airlines Plane Crashes Near Addis Ababa Killing All on Board

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max-8 has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board.

According to the airline, 149 passengers and eight crew members were on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines said 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 8 Americans and 7 British nationals were among the passengers.

The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after the plane took off.

Another jet of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.

“At this stage, we cannot rule out anything,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

“We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”

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Recovery operations were under way near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 37 miles south-east of Addis Ababa.

The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on November 15, 2018. It underwent a “rigorous first check maintenance” on February 4, the airline tweeted.

Tewolde Gebremariam said at news conference that passengers from more than 30 countries were on board the flight.

He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, 7 French citizens, 6 Egyptians, 5 Germans, 4 Indians and four people from Slovakia.

Three Austrians, 3 Swedes, 3 Russians, 2 Moroccans, 2 Spaniards, 2 Poles and two Israelis were also on the flight.

There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

One person held a UN passport, Ethiopian Airlines said. The airline believed some passengers could have been heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on March 11.

A UN source also told AFP that “at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN”, and that this may include freelance translators.

World Food Program executive director David Beasley said seven members of agency staff had died in the crash.