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BREAKING: Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes, 157 dead

The crash site. PHOTO ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | AFP | All 149 passengers and eight crew on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight died when it crashed shortly after takeoff en route to Nairobi on Sunday, Ethiopian state media reported.

Quoting Ethiopian Airlines, Fana Broadcasting Corporate said the plane, which departed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at 8:38 am (0538 GMT), crashed minutes after takeoff, “killing all the 149 passengers and eight crew aboard.”

“We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today,” the airline said in a statement.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 plane took off at 8:38 am (0638 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa by road.

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 on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning.”

People with passports form 32 countries and the United Nations were on the Nairobi-bound Boeing 737, 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, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters in Addis Ababa. Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, the Netherlands five, and India four. Four were UN passport-holders.

Boeing statement.

“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team,” Boeing said in a statement, adding that “A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.

 

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