An Ethiopian Airline carrying 149 passengers and 8 crew members has crashed after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing every person on board.
The Flight Number – ET 302 took off at 08:38 a.m. local time today, i.e., March 10, 2019 and lost contact at 08:44 a.m. local time. The plane went down near Bishoftu, South-East of Addis Ababa. As of now, the reason for the accident is not known. There were people from 33 different nations in the flight. According to an eyewitness, there was a blast and huge fire as the plane hit the ground.
In a Press Statement, Ethiopian Airlines said, “The group CEO who is at the accident scene right now regrets to confirm that there are no survivors. He expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident.”
In an earlier statement, the Airline said, “Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services.”
The Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – Abiy Ahmed, tweeted, “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.”
The President of Kenya – Uhuru Kenyatta wrote on twitter, “We are saddened by the news of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger aircraft that is reported to have crashed 6 minutes after takeoff en route to Kenya. My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board.”
The search and rescue operations are currently under way near the crash site which is 60 kms. (37 miles) south-east of the capital. A passenger information centre and hotline will be available shortly for family and friends of the passengers.
The safety of the Boing 737 Max-8
The aircraft involved in today’s accident is less than 4 months old. It was delivered to Ethiopia in mid-November 2018. For the records, another plane of the same model had crashed in October 2018, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board. In 2010, one of the company’s aeroplanes had crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after leaving Beirut, killing 90 people on board.
The airline’s highest fatalities prior to this were in November 1996 crash during a hijacking on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. One of the aeroplane’s engines stopped working as the fuel ran out. Though the pilots tried an emergency water landing, but they ended up hitting a coral reef in the Indian Ocean. Out of 175 passengers, 123 were killed.