Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Crashes Near Addis Ababa, No Survivors

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According to  Ethiopian Airlines statement, all 157 people aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed soon after taking off on Sunday morning from Addis Ababa have been killed, reports CNN

Live Update: China Grounds Boeing 737

  • In a knee-jerk reaction, the Chinese government has grounded all Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets.
  • The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement on Monday morning that all domestic Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets must be out of the air by 6 p.m. local time, due to its principle of “zero tolerance for safety hazards.”
  • The move was followed by an announcement from Ethiopian Airlines that the company had already grounded its small fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets as an “extra safety precaution” while investigations into the crash continue.
  • The Ethiopian Airlines incident was the second time in less than six months that a new Boeing aircraft crashed just minutes into a flight. A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight went down over the Java Sea in late October, killing all 189 people on board.
  • “Given in both air crashes, the aircrafts were newly delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8, and both accidents occurred during the take-off, they share certain similarities,” the administration said in a statement.
  • China has one of the world largest fleets of Boeing 737 MAX 8, operating 97 of the planes, according to Chinese state-run media.
  • In a statement Monday, major airline China Air confirmed it would be suspending the planes from March 11, adding they would take action to ensure “smooth traveling for passengers.”
  • The Chinese authority said it would contact Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration to confirm “flight safety” issues before allowing the planes to fly again.
  • The Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes are both still under investigation and there is no evidence of a direct link between the cause of the two incidents.

What happened?

The plane, en route to Nairobi, Kenya, lost contact at 8:44 a.m. local time, six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital.

Flight ET302 went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa. The victims were of 35 different nationalities, an airline spokesman told CNN.

All Passengers Killed

Thirty-two Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Americans, eight Italians and eight Chinese nationals were among the passengers. Seven French and seven UK nationals were also on board, the spokesman said.

UN Staff Members on the Plane

Nineteen United Nations staff members were among those killed, according to a UN statement. The victims worked for the World Food Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees, the International Telecommunications Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Organization for Migration in South Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, and the UN Office in Nairobi.

Though it’s unclear why UN employees were on the plane, the UN Environment Assembly is scheduled to begin Monday in Nairobi.
“My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own UN staff — who perished in this tragedy,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

A family member of a victim of the crash awaits news at Addis Ababa airport.

US Team Sent for Rescue Operation

The US National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to support the Ethiopian Accident Investigations Bureau’s investigation, with assistance from technical advisers from the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing, and General Electric.

Investigations into the crash are still continuing as Kenya and Ethiopia announced they had set up a joint disaster response team to look into the incident.

The Pilot Asked for Emergency Landing

  • Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters the pilot reported technical difficulties after takeoff and asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa.
  • He was given clearance to turn back, GebreMariam said, citing the air traffic controllers’ record.
  • The pilot was a senior Ethiopian Airlines pilot who had flown more than 8,000 hours. He had an “excellent flying record,” GebreMariam said.

Report from the Crash Site

The CEO visited the crash site Sunday. He said the plane “is now right inside the ground” and it was not possible to identify whether it was an emergency landing or a crash. He said there was still smoke at the site when he visited.

Ethiopian Airlines issued this image on their official facebook page. Pictured, the CEO visiting the crash site
Accident Bulletin no. 2
Issued on march 10, 2019 at 01:46 PM
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO deeply regrets the fatal accident involved on ET 302 /March 10 on a scheduled flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.
The group CEO who is at the accident scene right now regrets to confirm that there are no survivors.
He expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and c

Cause Undetermined

“As it is a fresh incident, we have not been able to determine the cause. As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time.”
“The routine maintenance check didn’t reveal any problems,” GebreMariam added.
Asked about the possibility of terrorism or sabotage, he said, “At this stage, we cannot rule out anything.”

Hotline Centre for Passenger Kin

The airline said a passenger information center and hotline “will be available shortly for family or friends of those who may have been on the flight.”
The Ethiopian government expressed its “deepest condolences to the families,” the office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted.

A Chinese group looks at the arrival flight schedule at Nairobi airport in Kenya on Sunday.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed soon after takeoff from Jakarta in 2018 — killing 189 people, GebreMariam said, adding that only an investigation would yield conclusions.
Geoffrey Thomas, the editor in chief of Airline Ratings, told CNN that Sunday’s crash had “significant differences” to the Lion Air crash. In the Lion Air flight, there were “wild fluctuations in airspeed and … we continued to get data from the plane all the way down to impact.”

Family members of the victims react to news of the tragedy at Addis Ababa airport on Sunday.

Sunday’s crash, however, had “no fluctuations and all of the sudden transmission” ceased, he said. “That transmission ceasing indicates a catastrophic failure in the air.”
The aerospace giant said in a press statement that it was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew.” It added that a “Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board.”

 

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Source: CNN

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