Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Ethiopian Airlines plane with 157 people on board crashes minutes after take-off

An Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX departs after delivery from Boeing Field An Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX departs after delivery from Boeing Field
Ellis Copeland | 14 March, 2019, 09:46

There were no survivors.

Comair, the operator of British Airways and Kulula flights in South Africa, said it has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 while it consults with Boeing, other operators and technical experts.

The Ethiopian plane was new, having been delivered to the airline in November.

The airline had earlier incorrectly identified the plane's model number, but later confirmed it was a 737 MAX 8.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO "stated there were no defects prior to the flight, so it is hard to see any parallels with the Lion Air crash yet", said Harro Ranter, founder of the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles information about accidents worldwide. According to the airline, inspectors last conducted maintenance on the aircraft on February 4.

A plane belonging to Ethiopia Airlines has crashed near the capital of Addis Ababa.

Boeing said a technical team was ready to provide assistance at the request of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Several countries lost more than five citizens. They included 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with departmental rules, said the plane was scheduled to fly on Monday from Casablanca to London but was replaced. Three Austrian physicians, the co-founder of an global aid organization, and the former secretary general of the Football Kenya Federation were among those on board, the AP reported. The U.N. flag at the event flew at half-staff.

Shocked leaders of the United Nations, the U.N. refugee agency and the World Food Program announced that colleagues had been on the plane. According to a statement put out by university, Cedric Asiavugwa had been on his way to Nairobi after his fiancee's mother died.

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Passengers from 33 countries were aboard, said Tewolde in a news conference. "May the Almighty Allah give them strength and fortitude to bear the loss".

The Boeing 737 plane took off from Addis Ababa at 8:38 AM local time, and crashed shortly after at 8:44 AM. That jet similarly went down just minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. The pilot was a senior aviator, joining the airline in 2010, the CEO said.

The plane lost contact with the control tower six minutes after takeoff. Analysts, however, predicted that Ethiopian Airlines would be the exception on the continent. According to reports, visibility was clear.

An AFP reporter said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely.

In a statement, the Ethiopian Prime Minister's Office has expressed "deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones" on the flight.

A statement from Ethiopian Airlines reads: "Ethiopian Airlines regrets to confirm that its flight ET 302/10 March in schedule service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit)".

The last crash by the airline was in 2010 when one of the company's aeroplanes crashed in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving Beirut.

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