Ethiopian Airlines Flight carrying 157 to Nairobi Crashes

Ethiopian Airlines Flight carrying 157 to Nairobi Crashes

Flight ET302, operated on a Boeing 737-800 Max aircraft, crashed near the town of Bishoftu, some 60 kilometres southeast of the Ethiopian capital, six minutes after takeoff. "I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it", said Agnes Muilu, who had come to pick up her brother.

The Max mock-up is the newest version of Boeing's workhorse 737 models, the world's most popular commercial aircraft. Boeing sent condolences to the families and said it was ready to help investigate. Before losing contact, GebreMariam said, the pilot sent a distress call and was given approval to return to the tarmac.

They said investigators would examine the wreckage and bodies for any signs of burns or unusual forces and study the shape and size of the wreckage field.

Nineteen staff from at least five U.N. and affiliated organizations died, including the World Food Program, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, the International Telecommunications Union, the U.N. Environment Program, the World Bank and the International Organisation on Migration, the IOM said.

The reason for the crash is not yet known.

The Ethiopian plane was new, delivered to the airline in November.

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"There are no survivors onboard the flight, which carried passengers from 33 countries", said state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, quoting an unidentified source at the airline.

The cause of that crash is still under investigation.

"Ethiopian is Africa's biggest airline, and recently the airport in Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading gateway to sub-Saharan Africa", Peralta reports. The accident was strikingly similar to last year's crash of a Lion Air jet that plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189 people.

"If there is a suspicion ... that there's not only something inherently wrong with 737 Max 8 aircraft, but there are no procedures in place to cure the problem, then yes, they should either ground the plane, or there are several levels of things they could do", Curtis said. It has flown more than 1,200 hours.

The CEO has visited the crash site today. This is the second Boeing 737 Max 8 to crash in recent months.

Ethiopian Airlines said six Egyptians, two Moroccans, one Saudi, one Sudanese and one Yemeni were among the dead. Wrenelle Stander, executive director of Comair's airline division, said that Comair "remains confident in the inherent safety of the aircraft".

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