On Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302, on its way to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, crashed six minutes after take-off. It ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, some 60km (40 miles) southeast of the Ethiopian capital.
All 157 people aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed soon after taking off Sunday morning from Addis Ababa have been killed, the airline said Sunday.
The 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.
The victims were of 35 different nationalities.
Thirty-two Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Americans, eight Italians and eight Chinese nationals were among the passengers. Seven French and seven UK nationals were also on board.
Nineteen United Nations staff members were among those killed, according to a UN statement.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, records show.
The plane showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a Twitter post. Visibility appeared to be clear.
The disaster was the second involving the new aircraft in the last four months. In October, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea off the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, killing all 189 onboard. The cockpit data recorder showed that the jet’s airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights, though Lion Air initially claimed that problems with the aircraft had been fixed.
Carriers ground Boeing 737 Max 8 jets in wake of disaster
Ethiopian Airlines have joined carriers in China and the Cayman Islands that have suspended the use of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets in the wake of a crash that killed all 157 people.
“Following the tragic accident of ET 302 … Ethiopian Airlines has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective yesterday, March 10, until further notice,” the state-owned carrier said in a statement released on Twitter on Monday.
“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we have to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” said the airline, which is Africa’s largest.
The move came after China’s aviation authorities ordered the country’s airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.
The cause of the crash is unknown, but Cayman Airlines also suspended operations of its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes while investigations continued.
The civil aviation administration of China (CAAC) issued a notice on Monday at 9am local time ordering domestic airlines to suspend the commercial operation of the Boeing 737- Max 8 aircraft before 6pm.
The regulator said the grounding of the planes was “in line with our principle of zero tolerance for safety hazards and strict control of safety risks”. The CAAC said it would be contacting US aviation authorities and Boeing before restoring flights of the aircraft.
Cayman Airways, which also flies the Boeing 737 Max 8 craft, also announced it would ground the planes while the investigation into the crash was ongoing. Cayman Airways president and chief executive Fabian Whorms said the airline was “putting the safety of our passengers and crew first”.
More than 300 Boeing 737-MAX planes are in operation and more than 5,000 have been ordered worldwide since 2017.
On Sunday, an official at the Indonesian ombudsman’s office and aviation expert, Alvin Lie, told the Jakarta Post that the Indonesian government should ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that were in operation. Indonesia has two airlines that use the planes – Garuda Airlines and Lion Air.
The Lion Air flight plunged into the sea off the coast of West Java 13 minutes after takeoff in October killing all 189 on board. The crash was the worst aviation disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades.
“The ministry should be ready to temporarily ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 that are still operating in Indonesia in order to prevent more accidents,” Alvin told the Jakarta Post.
In a statement, Boeing said: “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. A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”