Embassies activated to check if any South Africans involved in Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

2019-03-10 13:54
Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Samson Haileyesus/AP Photo)

Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Samson Haileyesus/AP Photo)

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South Africa has activated its embassies in Ethiopia and Kenya to establish if any citizens were aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed just minutes after taking off from the capital city Addis Ababa on Sunday morning.

A local journalist tweeted the flight manifest on Sunday afternoon, which indicated no South African nationals were on board.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said there was an international protocol that required airlines to inform them if any South Africans were aboard a crashed aircraft.

Ethiopian Airlines said there were 157 people aboard their Boeing 737 when it crashed around Bishoftu, which is about 50km south of Addis Ababa. The crash happened six minutes after the Nairobi-bound plane took off.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement expressed his "great sadness" and sent a message of condolences to affected families, on behalf of the government and the people of South Africa.

READ - LATEST: No survivors among 157 aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight involved in fatal crash

The disaster has prompted the South African embassies in the two countries into action.

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

Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement released at 11:00 on Sunday that the aircraft, a B-737-800MAX, took off from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport.

"Ethiopian Airlines is establishing a passenger information centre and a telephone number will be available shortly for family and friends of those who may have been on flight ET 302/10 March."

This article has been updated with new information.

Read more on:    dirco  |  ethiopian airlines  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  ethiopia  |  plane crashes  |  aviation accidents

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