An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi, Kenya.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, records show.
The state-owned airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.
It said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the plane that crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya’s capital. The crash occurred around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.
The airline later published a photo that appeared to show its CEO standing in the wreckage. Little of the plane could be seen in the freshly churned earth, under a blue sky.
The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, looks at the wreckage of the plane that crashed.
“Tewolde Gebremariam, who is at the accident scene now, regrets to confirm that there are no survivors,” the post on social media said. “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 Group press conference on flight ET 302 accident
Posted by Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday, March 10, 2019
The plane had shown unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a Twitter post. Visibility was clear.
State broadcaster EBC reported all passengers were dead and that they included 33 nationalities. An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians were among the victims.
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office offered its “deepest condolences” to families.