Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash
All the 157 people on plane confirmed dead
All 157 people on board an Ethiopian Airlines plane which crashed this morning are confirmed to have been killed in the tragedy.
Seven of those killed were reportedly British nationals although this has not been confirmed by the Foreign Office.
Flight ET302 came down six minutes after it took off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. It was en-route to Nairobi.
The flight lost contact six minutes after it set off at 8.38am local time. It had been expected to arrive in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, less than two hours afterward but instead it has ended in disaster.
The plane was a Boeing 737 800 Max – the same model as the Lion Air plane crash tragedy in Indonesia which killed 189 in October last year.
There were reportedly 33 nationalities on board the doomed flight today, with Chinese state media saying eight were Chinese nationals.
The flight “had unstable vertical speed” shortly after take off, Swedish flight-tracking website flightradar24 said.
“Data from Flightradar24 ADS-B network show that vertical speed was unstable after take off,” the Swedish-based flight tracking organisation said on its Twitter feed.
Bekele Gutema who says he was near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 37 miles south-east of the capital has spoken to BBC Amharic.
He said: “The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it. Everything is burnt down.
“The firefighters arrived around 11 and the crash happened around 8. There are four helicopters at the scene now. No one will survive.”
The Ethiopian Prime Minister’s official Twitter account has expressed condolences to families of those lost.
The PM’s office wrote on Twitter: “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
At Nairobi airport, many 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 Mudanta, 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.”
Kenya’s transport secretary James Macharia described the crash as a “regrettable incident”.
He said Kenyan authorities were trying to find out exactly what happened, but because the plane came down in Ethiopian airspace they had limited information.
Mr Macharia told reporters: “It is a very sensitive emotional matter.
“We are waiting for more information to come from Ethiopian Airlines.
“What we are doing ourselves is to provide as much support as possible to relatives and friends waiting to meet passengers.”
The Max model is the newest version of Boeing’s workhorse 737 model, the world’s most popular commercial airline.
Following the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia, Boeing issued an emergency notice that an erroneous sensor input could “cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane,” leading to “possible impact with terrain.”
This model plan lacks a common override feature that allows pilots to reliably pull planes out of nose dives, reports the Washington Post.
The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane was delivered to the airline in mid-November.
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.”
Max Kingsley-Jones, group editor of online news site Flight Global, said Ethiopian Airlines has a “great reputation” in the aviation world.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Ethiopian [Airlines] is really the jewel in the crown for Africa’s airlines. In fact, international airlines across the world look up to Ethiopian.
“It’s got a fantastic network, it’s got a great reputation and it has a fleet to go with that operation.
“It operates long-haul aircraft, all the latest technology… and then on short-haul it’s got [Boeing] 737s.”
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size with roughly 100 planes.
It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.
Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after take-off.
The airline has over 100 destinations worldwide, including flights to Washington DC, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.