An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after taking off from Addis Ababa killing all 157 passengers and crew aboard the airline said on Sunday morning.
The plane, en route to Nairobi, Kenya, lost contact at 8:44 local time, just six minutes after taking off. It went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa.
An airline spokesperson told CNN the victims were of 32 different nationalities. Eight Americans were on board.
Ethiopian Airlines wrote on Twitter,
“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.“
Ethiopian Airlines has the reputation of being one of the best airlines in Africa with a good safety record and the newest fleet of planes on the African continent.
CNN anchor Richard Quest, who specializes in aviation said,
“Ethiopian Airlines is a very, very well-run airline. There is no safety issue on Ethiopian. They’ve made it their business to be the African airline that operates like a western airline.
I think [Ethiopian Airlines] are going to be looking at whether there was an engine failure. The plane is climbing out at a normal fashion, but there are mountains in the area, and longstanding pilots are well aware that if you have an issue departing Addis on that particular route, you’ve got a mountain in front of you.“
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.
Boeing said in a press statement that it was
“deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew. A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.“
The last major accident involving Ethiopian Air was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.
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.
— Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 10, 2019
(Photo, Google Maps, screen grab; via CNN)