Ethiopia State TV Says All on Crashed Plane Dead

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—An Ethiopian Airlines flight with 157 people thought to be on board crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning from Ethiopia’s capital while headed to Nairobi, the airline said.

Ethiopia’s state broadcaster says all passengers on the plane are dead.

Broadcaster EBC says the passengers included 33 nationalities.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO and Kenya’s transport minister say Canadians, Chinese, Americans and others are among the many nationalities among the victims.

Authorities earlier said 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians were killed. Now they add 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia.

Family members of victims
Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport on March 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The cause of the crash of the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane is not immediately known.

Records show that the plane was a new one.

The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane, a Boeing 737-8 MAX, was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.

The state-owned Ethiopian 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.

An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner jet
An Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner jet is pictured ahead of its take off at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, on April 27, 2013. (Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images)

The airline’s statement said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the Boeing 737 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 the capital, shortly after taking off at 8:38 a.m., the airline said.

A statement by the Ethiopian prime minister’s office offered its “deepest condolences” to families.

The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut killing all 90 people on board.

Sunday’s crash comes as the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.

Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Samson Haileyesus/AP Photo)

Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.

Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new “Airport City” terminal in Bishoftu—where Sunday’s crash occurred.

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