President Mnangagwa yesterday joined the world in mourning the death of 157 passengers of an Ethiopian Airlines flight which crashed six minutes after take-off in Addis Ababa. Ethiopian Airlines’ Flight ET 302 crashed after taking off from Addis-Ababa with 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.
In a tweet, President Mnangagwa said: “I send my condolences and prayers to all the families of those who lost their lives today on the Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi. Our thoughts and strength go out to our African brothers and sisters and all those affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Ethiopian Airlines confirmed the accident in a statement saying: “Ethiopian Airlines regrets to confirm that its flight ET 302-10 March in schedule service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit).
“The aircraft a B-737-800MAX with registration number ET- AVJ took off at 8.38am local time from Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 8.44am. . . It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew onboard the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight. Ethiopian Airlines is establishing a passenger information centre and telephone number will be available shortly for family or friends of those who may have been on flight ET 302-10 March.”
Group chief executive officer Mr Tewolde Gebre Mariam was quoted as saying he “deeply regrets the fatal accident”.
He later travelled to the scene of the crash.
A tweet by Ethiopian Airlines showed the chief executive lifting what appeared to be a piece of the plane debris at the bottom of a large crater in an empty field.
Thirty-three nationalities were on board flight ET 302, which crashed near the town of Bishoftu, about 50km southeast of the Ethiopian capital, the state broadcaster reported.
Among the dead were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, and seven British citizens. Four of the victims held United Nations passports,, according to the statement.