All 157 on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302, which took off from capital Addis Ababa at 8.38 pm local time (11.08 am IST), died in a crash on Sunday, the state broadcaster said.
The Boeing 737-800MAX aircraft carrying 149 passengers and 8 crew members crashed in Bishoftu (formerly Debre Zeit), a town located 48 kilometres south east of Addis Ababa.
Contact with the aircraft was lost at 8.44 am local time, just 8 minutes after take-off, on its flight to Kenya’s Nairobi. It was expected to land at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10:25 am local time.
A search and rescue operation was launched immediately.
In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said that the group’s CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, had reached the site of the accident. He confirmed that there were no survivors.
“The CEO expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident,” read the statement.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was the first to break the news of the crash, expressed condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones.
“The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on a regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning,” the PM’s office said in a tweet.
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s 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.
— Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
The airlines also changed the profile picture of its official Twitter handle with the logo in white on a black background and an all-black background image to show solidarity with the families of the accident victims.
In a statement issued earlier, the airline had said that it had “no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties”.
The carrier was at the time confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight.
“Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” the statement read.
Ethiopian Airlines established a passenger information centre and gave telephone numbers for information.
Airport emergency hotline
011 5 17 87 33
0115 17 47 35
For all information necessary
011 5 17 89 45
011 5 17 89 87
011 5 17 82 31
011 5 17 85 58
Unconfirmed reports say that the brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 was delivered to the airline just four months ago.
The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was the explosion of a Boeing 737-800 in Lebanon in 2010. The accident killed 83 passengers and seven crew members.