News Frontliner Web Desk, 10 March 2019: An Ethiopian Airlines 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed early on Sunday with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard. The airlines in its latest statement declared that there were ‘no survivors’.
The recently acquired aircraft left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38 am local time, and lost all contacts with the control tower just six minutes later at 8.44 am.
The state affiliated Fana Broadcasting, quoting an unidentified source at the airline broadcasted, “There are no survivors onboard the flight, which carried passengers from 33 countries.”
Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, less than 40 miles to the southeast of capital town Addis Ababa, the airline said, adding that the passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 MAX, registration number ET-AVJ.
Noting, that this very model number does not exist, multiple aviation websites later identified the plane as a new 737 MAX 8, the same category plane that crashed in Indonesia in last 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 in a statement.
In its Twitter feed, the Swedish Flightradar 24 website, known for flight tracking had said that the flight had a unstable vertical speed after takeoff.
Ethiopian Airlines used this brand new Max aircraft in October last year.
At Nairobi airport, many passengers were waiting at the gate, with no information from airport authorities. Passengers from 33 different nations were aboard the fateful plane.
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office have sent condolences via Twitter to the families of those lost in the crash.
On October 29 last year, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. State-owned Ethiopian Airlines is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size.