Ethiopian Airlines: Seven Brits and one Irish citizen among 157 killed after Boeing 737 crashes on way to Nairobi



Seven British passengers and one from Ireland were among 157 people killed after an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off on Sunday morning, officials have said.

Some 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on board the Boeing jet that crashed six minutes after departing Ethiopia's capital on Sunday.
Kenya's transport minister James Macharia said today there were passengers from at least 35 countries on board flight ET302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya.



He told reporters 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and eight Americans were also among the passengers.
Ethiopian Airlines told a press conference that an Irish citizen was also on board the flight.
The crash occurred around 31 miles south of the capital at around 8.44am local time (5.44am GMT).
It was not immediately clear what had caused the crash of the Boeing 737 Max-8 plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, records show.
First British victim of Ethiopian Airlines crash named as Joanna Toole
The pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all clear to return, according to the airline's chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.
Senior captain Yared Getachew had a "commendable performance" having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.



The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis earlier on Sunday morning, and had undergone a "rigorous" testing on February 4, a statement continued.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam confirmed there were no survivors as he visited the crash site on Sunday.
Records show the plane was new and delivered to the airline as recently as November.
Witnesses told of an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.

A family member of a victim involved in the crash at Addis Ababa international airport (AP)
"The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it," an eyewitness told the BBC.
"Everything is burnt down. There are four helicopters at the scene now."

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the crash as he offered his "deepest condolences" to families on Twitter on Sunday morning.
The PM's office tweeted: "The office of the PM, on behalf of 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."
Airline chief Tewolde Gebremariam expressed his "profound sympathy and condolences" to loved ones of the passengers and crew as he confirmed there were no survivors.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO visited the crash site following the accident.
An Ethiopian Airlines plane after a jet crashed around six minutes after takeoff on Sunday (AP)
In an earlier statement, the airline said search and rescue operations were under way at the scene.
Boeing Airplanes tweeted that the firm was "aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation".

A woman reacts as she waits for the updated flight information of Ethiopian Airlines flight (REUTERS)
​In October, another of its 737 Max-8 aircraft was involved in a crash when a Lion Air flight plunged into the sea near Indonesia killing nearly 190 people on board.

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.

An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (REUTERS)
James Macharia, Kenya's transport minister, told reporters that an emergency response had been set up for family and friends.
"My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said, as many Kenyans braced for the worst.
Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 said earlier that the flight had "unstable vertical speed" after take-off.


Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centred economy.




Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.
Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu - where Sunday's crash occurred.

"My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," said Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.

UK investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are likely to be communicating with their counterparts in Ethiopia to keep next-of-kin informed.

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