The Ethiopian Airlines: ‘No survivors’ on crashed Boeing 737, plane, en route to Nairobi, Kenya, lost contact at 8:44 a.m. local time, six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital. Flight ET302 went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa.
The Airline crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board. The airline said 149 passengers and eight crew members were on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya. A preliminary report indicated that pilots struggled to maintain control following an equipment malfunction
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters the pilot reported technical difficulties after takeoff and asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa. He was given clearance to turn back, GebreMariam said, citing the air traffic controllers’ record.
The pilot was a senior Ethiopian Airlines pilot who had flown more than 8,000 hours. He had an “excellent flying record,” GebreMariam said.
The CEO visited the crash site. He said the plane “is now right inside the ground” and it was not possible to identify whether it was an emergency landing or a crash. He said there was still smoke at the site when he visited. “We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation.”
An eyewitness at the scene said, there was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground. “The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it,” he said. “Everything is burnt down.” The plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 15 November last year. It underwent “rigorous first check maintenance” on 4 February, the airline tweeted.
He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Germans, four Indians and four people from Slovakia.
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, the airline said. It believed some passengers could have been heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on Monday. A UN source also said that “at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN”, and that this may include freelance translators. World Food Programme executive director David Beasley said seven members of agency staff had died in the crash.
This is the 2nd disaster involving boeing 737 Max 8 in Six months. The latest crash raises fresh concerns about the safety of the 737 Max, less than two years after the popular narrow-body entered commercial service. A Lion Air plane of the same model plunged into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018 killing 189 passengers and crew.