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One Irish person among 157 dead after Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes en route to Kenya

It has been reported that there were no survivors among the 157 people on board the aircraft.

Family members at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa arriving to check for info on the crashed flight
Family members at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa arriving to check for info on the crashed flight
Image: Elias Masseret/PA Images

Updated Mar 10th 2019, 12:40 PM

AN ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES Boeing 737 crashed this morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board, Ethiopian Airlines said.

One of the passengers was an Irish person, the airline confirmed at a press conference this afternoon.

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

Ethiopia’s state broadcaster has said that there are no survivors from the 157 who were on board.

“We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today,” the airline said in a statement.

“It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew on board the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight.”

The plane took off at 8.38 am (6.38am Irish time) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later.

The weather in the capital, according to an AFP reporter, was clear when the brand-new Boeing, delivered to Ethiopia last year, took off.

The plane came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.

An AFP reporter said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely.

Rescue crews were retrieving human remains from the wreckage.

Police and troops were on the scene, as well as a crash investigation team from Ethiopia’s civil aviation agency.

In this afternoon’s press conference, Ethiopian Airlines said that there were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and nine Ethiopians among the passengers.

There were also eight Americans, seven Britons and seven French citizens.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office tweeted it “would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning”.

In a statement, Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” by the crash.

“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the company said in a statement.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team,” it said.

A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board.

The single-aisle Boeing 737 MAX is one of the world’s newest and most advanced commercial passenger jets. But the company has come under fire for possible glitches with the plane, which entered service in 2017.

© AFP 2019  

With reporting from Seán Murray

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