An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800MAX which took off from capital Addis Ababa at 8.38 pm local time (11.08 am IST) crashed on Sunday, the airlines said in a statement.
The flight, ET 302, was carrying 149 passengers and 8 crew members at the time of the crash. A search and rescue operation is currently in progress.
The aircraft lost contact 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.
The carrier said that the aircraft crashed in Bishoftu (formerly Debre Zeit), a town located 48 kilometres south east of Addis Ababa.
“At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties,” the airlines said in the statement, adding that the carrier is 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.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed 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 news of the crash was first to break the news of the crash.
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.