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Xinhua News Agency/PA Images Rescuers work beside the wreckage of an Ethiopian Airlines' aircraft at the crash site
# Plane Crash
Black box recovered from crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight
157 people were killed in yesterday’s crash, including Irishman Michael Ryan.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 11th 2019, 10:39 AM

THE DIGITAL FLIGHT data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder from the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed yesterday, killing 157 people, including one Irish person, has been recovered, according to the airline.

The brand new Max 8 plane, being flown by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed just six minutes into its flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya, killing all those on board.

The airline this morning announced that it is pulling its fleet of 737 Max from service, just hours after China’s air safety regulator ordered domestic airlines to do the same.

Last October, the same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

Since the Lion Air accident, the 737 MAX has faced growing skepticism from the aviation community. The program had already encountered problems during development.

In May 2017, Boeing had halted 737 MAX test flights due to quality concerns with the engine produced by CFM International, a company jointly owned by France’s Safran Aircraft Engines and GE Aviation.

While Teal Group expert Richard Aboulafia said it was “too soon to make any kind of meaningful comment,” another industry expert stressed the similarities between the two incidents.

“It’s the same plane. Like Lion Air, the (Ethiopian Airlines) accident took place shortly after takeoff and the pilots signaled they were experiencing problems, then the plane crashed. The similarities are clear,” the expert added, requesting anonymity.

Chinese aviation authorities have also noted the “similarities” between the two deadly incidents.

Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” by the Ethiopian Airlines incident, adding that a technical team would be providing assistance to investigators.


Eight crew and 149 passengers from 35 countries perished when Flight ET 302 smashed into a field.

The Irish person who was among those who died was last night named as Michael Ryan, originally from Lahinch, Co Clare. 

Michael Ryan was Deputy Chief Engineer at the United Nations’ World Food Programme and was based at its Rome headquarters, a spokesperson confirmed to

“All of WFP’s thoughts and condolences are with the families of those killed.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the incident and providing consular assistance.

Also among the dead were tourists, business travellers, and UN staff, including some who worked for the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM said early indications were that 19 staff members of UN-affiliated organisations died in the crash.

Many were headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opens in Nairobi today with 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives.

Ethiopia’s parliament has declared a national day of mourning today. 

According to the airline, Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia nine, then Italy, China, and the United States with eight each.

Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, and Germany five – though the breakdown was not final.

France’s government later said there were eight French victims.

“Our thoughts tonight are with families of all those lost in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, including Irish engineer Michael Ryan,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted.

“Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme. Deepest sympathies to family, colleagues & friends.” 

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Minister for Business Heather Humphreys said:

“I just want to say I am very sorry to hear about the Ethiopian airline that crashed this morning and I understand from media reports that there is one Irish citizen on that.

Our thoughts are with the families and the Department of Foreign Affairs remains ready to act in any way that they can and give any support to the families.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that it is a “tragedy” for the families involved. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May both described the news as “devastating”.


Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s biggest carrier, said the search of the crash site had been suspended overnight, but would resume in daylight.

“A committee comprising of Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and Ethiopian Transport Authority has been set up to carry out the investigations,” it added.

Once the… deceased are identified, their bodies will be delivered to their families and loved ones.

The US National Transportation Safety Board also said it would send investigators to assist.

With reporting by © AFP 2019  

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