WATCH: No survivors among 157 aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight involved in fatal crash, and no South Africans on board

2019-03-10 10:54
(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing)

(Photo: Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing)

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Addis Ababa – Ethiopian Airlines says it believes 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board a plane that crashed six minutes after taking off from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, on a flight to Nairobi.

In the latest update, Ethiopian state media reported that all 149 passengers and eight crew on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight died when it crashed shortly after takeoff.

Quoting Ethiopian Airlines, Fana Broadcasting Corporate said the plane, which departed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at 08:38, crashed minutes after takeoff, "killing all the 149 passengers and eight crew aboard".

A spokesperson for Ethiopian Airlines says that among the dead in the crash are 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians. Asrat Begashaw said that 31 other nationalities were also among those on board the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane that crashed, killing everyone thought to be on board.

Authorities said other victims include 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia. Spain's foreign ministry said two Spanish nationals were on the passenger list.

An earlier statement from the airline on Sunday morning said the Boeing 737 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50km south of the capital, shortly after taking off.

At the time, the airline statement said "search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties".

Records show that the Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday morning was a new one.

The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane, a Boeing 737-8 MAX, was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.

'Africa's largest carrier'

Earlier on Sunday morning, the Ethiopian prime minister's office issued a statement saying the Boeing 737 was on a regularly scheduled flight when it crashed. The statement gave no details at the time.

A spokesperson for the airline confirmed the plane crashed while heading from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.



Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centred economy.

Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.

Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu — where Sunday's crash occurred.

Read more on:    ethiopian airlines  |  ethiopia  |  east africa  |  plane crashes  |  aviation accidents
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