Ethiopian Airlines crash: 'No survivors' on flight with 157 on board, My God have mercy on the victims and rest their souls


Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres south-east of Addis Ababa, the airline said, confirming the plane was a Boeing 737-800 Max.PHOTO: REUTERS

NAIROBI (REUTERS, AFP) - An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed on Sunday (March 10) with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard and there were no survivors, the airline said. 
The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38am local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44am.
Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62km south-east of  Addis Ababa, the airline said. 

“The group CEO who is at the scene right now deeply regrets to confirm there are no survivors,” the airline tweeted alongside a picture of Tewolde GebreMariam in a suit holding a piece of debris inside a large crater. 
Passengers from 33 countries were aboard, said Tewolde in a news conference. The dead included Kenyan, Ethiopian, American, Canadian, French, Chinese, Egyptian, Swedish, British and Dutch citizens. 
The crash came on the eve of a major, annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme opening in Nairobi. 
The airline said the plane was a Boeing 737-800 Max with the registration number ET-AVJ. That model number does not exist however and multiple aviation websites later identified the plane as a new 737 MAX 8, the same plane that crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189.
The plane is the latest version of the 737 family, the world’s best selling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry’s most reliable.
US aerospace giant Boeing said Sunday it was “deeply saddened” about the deaths. “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the company said in a statement.
“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,” it said.
“A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board.” 
The Ethiopian prime minister's official Twitter account expressed condolences to the families of those lost in the flight.
"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 that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning," the PM's office said on Twitter.
The flight had unstable vertical speed after take off, said flight tracking website Flightradar24 on its Twitter feed.
At Nairobi airport, many relatives of passengers were waiting at the gate, with no information from airport authorities.
“We’re just waiting for my mum. We’re just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She’s not picking up her phone,” said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.
 Robert Mutanda, 46, was waiting for his brother-in-law coming from Canada. 
“No, we haven’t seen anyone from the airline or the airport,” he told Reuters at 1pm, more than three hours after the flight was lost. “Nobody has told us anything, we are just standing here hoping for the best.”
One relative, Khalid Ali Abdulrahman, however, received happy news about his son, who works in Dubai.
“I arrived here shortly after 10am and as I waited, a security person approached me and asked me which flight are you waiting for. I answered him quickly because I wanted him to direct me to the arrivals, so I told him Ethiopia, and then he said: ‘Sorry, that one has crashed’.”
“I was shocked, but shortly after, my son contacted me and told me he is still in Addis and did not board that flight, he is waiting for the second one which has been delayed,” Khalid told AFP.
May God help us!


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