Ethiopian Airlines Flight Crashes With More Than 150 On Board

Clay Curtis
March 14, 2019

A Boeing 737 800 MAX crashed on Sunday, the airline said.

It also was a serious blow to state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which has expanded to become the continent's largest and best-managed carrier and turned Addis Ababa into the gateway to Africa.

"We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today", Ethiopian said in a statement.

The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.

The plane crashed six minutes after departure, plowing into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) outside Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.

"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.

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At least 22 UN staff were on the flight, many headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme which opened under a dark cloud in Nairobi on Monday.

The jet showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said. It has flown more than 1,200 hours.

In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would join the National Transportation Safety Board in assisting Ethiopian authorities with the crash investigation.

A preliminary report into the October crash focused on airline maintenance and training and technical questions about the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor.

Some 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board of the plane that crashed six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa, on a flight to Nairobi, Kenya.

"Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after take-off", Reuters reports. Southwest Airlines flies 31 MAX 8 jets while American Airlines and Air Canada each have 24 in their fleet.

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