ADDIS ABABA – All 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa have been killed, the airline said on Sunday morning.
The plane, en route to Nairobi, Kenya, lost contact at 08.44 am local time soon after taking off, at 08:38 am local time, from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital.
The aircraft, flight number ET 302, went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa. The airline believes there were 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.
Ethiopian Airlines issued a statement saying: “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.”
A spokesman for the airline said the victims were of 32 different nationalities.
“Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” the airline said.
The airline added that a passenger information center and hotline “will be available shortly for family or friends of those who may have been on flight.”
The Ethiopian government expressed its “deepest condolences to the families,” the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Twitter.
Ethiopian Airlines has gained the reputation of being one of the best airlines in Africa. It has a good safety record and the newest fleet of planes on the African continent, according to its website.
Boeing has just tweeted: “Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation.”
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed soon after takeoff from Jakarta in 2018 — killing 189 people.
But Geoffrey Thomas, the editor in chief of Airline Ratings, told CNN the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday had “significant differences” to the Lion Air crash last year. On the Lion Air flight, there were “wild fluctuations in air speed and… we continued to get data from the plane all the way down to impact.”
Sunday’s crash, however, had “no fluctuations and all of the sudden transmission” ceased, he said. “That transmission ceasing indicates catastrophic failure in air.”
The aerospace giant tweeted addressed the Ethiopian Airlines accident on Twitter. “Boeing is aware of reports of an airplane accident and is closely monitoring the situation,” it wrote.
The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.