Ethiopian Airlines crash: Nationalities of 157 victims revealed

Airline's CEO told media that the plane was carrying passengers from more than 30 countries.

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed early on March 10, with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard, the airline said, and there were no survivors, according to the state broadcaster.

The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38 am local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8:44 am.

"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.

During a press conference, the airline's CEO told media that the plane was carrying passengers from more than 30 countries.

He said they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese citizens, eight Americans, seven British citizens, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians, four people from Slovakia, three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis.

Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen each had one citizen onboard.

Four of those onboard were listed as using United Nations passports and their nationalities were not immediately clear.

Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said, adding that the plane was a Boeing 737-800 MAX, registration number ET-AVJ.

That model number does not exist however and multiple aviation websites later identified the plane as a new 737 MAX 8, the same plane that crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189.

"Search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties," the airline said earlier in a statement.

The flight had unstable vertical speed after takeoff, said flight tracking website Flightradar24 on its Twitter feed.

At Nairobi airport, many passengers were waiting at the gate, with no information from airport authorities.

"We're just waiting for my mum. We're just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She's not picking up her phone," said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.

 

Robert Mudanta, 46, was waiting for his brother-in-law coming from Canada.

"No, we haven't seen anyone from the airline or the airport," he told Reuters at 1pm, more than three hours after the flight was lost. "Nobody has told us anything, we are just standing here hoping for the best."

The Ethiopian prime minister's office sent condolences via Twitter to the families of those lost in the crash.

On October 29, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

The plane is the latest version of the 737 family, the world's best-selling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry's most reliable.

State-owned Ethiopian is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size. It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.

Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after take-off.

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