Sunday, 10 March 2019

Tragedy:plane crash in Ethiopia killing 149 and crew men

An Ethiopian Airlines jet has crashed shortly
after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on
board.
The airline said 149 passengers and eight crew
members were on flight ET302 from the
Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.
It said 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, eight
Americans and seven British nationals were
among the passengers.
The crash happened at 08:44 local time, six
minutes after the months-old Boeing 737 Max-8
took off.
Live updates
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Do we know how it happened?

The cause of the disaster is not yet clear.
However, the pilot had reported difficulties and
had asked to return to Addis Ababa, the airline
said.
"At this stage, we cannot rule out anything,"
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam
told reporters at Bole International Airport in
Addis Ababa.
"We cannot also attribute the cause to anything
because we will have to comply with the
international regulation to wait for the
investigation."
Visibility was said to be good but air traffic
monitor Flightradar24 reported that the plane's
"vertical speed was unstable after take-off" .
An eyewitness at the scene told the BBC there
was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the
ground.
"The blast and the fire were so strong that we
couldn't get near it," he said. "Everything is
burnt down."
First word of the crash came when Prime
Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his "deepest
condolences" on Twitter.
The airline said that search and rescue
operations were under way near the crash site
around the town of Bishoftu, which is 60km (37
miles) south-east of the capital.

Who are the victims?

Mr Gebremariam told the news conference that
passengers from more than 30 countries were on
board the flight.
He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18
Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians,
eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons,
seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch
citizens, four Indians and four people from
Slovakia.
Slovak MP Anton Hrnko later confirmed via
Facebook that his wife and two children were on
the plane.
Three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians,
two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two
Israelis were also on the flight.
There was also one passenger each from
Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia,
Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda
and Yemen.
Four people held United Nations passports, the
airline said, and it believed some passengers
could have been heading to a session of the UN
Environment Assembly which begins in Nairobi on
Monday.
What do we know about the plane?
The 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the
skies, having been launched in 2016. It was
added to the Ethiopian Airlines fleet in July
last year.
Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" by the
crash and offered to send a team to provide
technical assistance.
Another plane of the same model was involved
in a crash five months ago, when a Lion Air
flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with
nearly 190 people on board.
Investigators say the pilots of that aircraft had
appeared to struggle with an automated system
designed to keep the plane from stalling - a
new feature of the Boeing 737 Max.
The anti-stalling system repeatedly forced the
plane's nose down, despite efforts by pilots to
correct this, findings suggest.
What October's Max-8 crash told us
Lion Air: How could a brand new plane
crash?
There is no suggestion that the Ethiopian
Airlines jet suffered similar issues on Sunday.
What about the airline's safety record?
Ethiopian Airlines flies to many destinations in
Africa, making it a popular carrier in a
continent where many airlines fly only from
their home country to destinations outside
Africa.
It has a good reputation for safety, although in
2010 one of the company's aeroplanes crashed
in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after leaving
Beirut.
The incident killed 90 people on board.
The airline's highest fatalities prior to this came
in a November 1996 crash during a hijacking on
a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.
One of the plane's engines stopped when the
fuel ran out and although pilots attempted an
emergency water landing, they hit a coral reef
in the Indian Ocean and 123 of the 175 people
on board were killed.

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