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.
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.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, expressed condolences to the families affected by the Sunday crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane.
In a statement issued on Sunday, President Ramaphosa said the thoughts of the South African people are with the people of all the affected countries, especially the people of Ethiopia and Kenya.
“The South African diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa and Nairobi have been directed to work with the airline and ascertain whether there were any passengers in the affected plane travelling on South African passports,” the Presidency said.