Ethiopian Airlines said Sunday that 149 passengers and 8 crew are dead following a crash near Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
Flight number 302 departed from Bole International Airport on March 10 around 8:38 a.m. local time heading to Nairobi, Kenya, before crashing shortly after takeoff, the airline said. The cause has not yet been determined.
“Ethiopian Airlines Group expresses its profound sorrow and deepest condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones on the tragic plane accident,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement. The airline said that it had contacted the families of the deceased as of Sunday evening local time.
According to the airline, the plane had recently undergone a “rigorous” maintenance check just a month prior on Feb. 4. The carrier said in a press release that it had “teamed up with all stakeholders concerned to conduct forensic investigations and identify the identities of the victims.”
The investigations into the cause of the incident will reportedly be carried out by a committee formed by the airline, the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, as well as the Ethiopian Transport Authority.
According to the New York Times, the 737 Max 8 aircraft was one of manufacturer Boeing’s most recent models. The paper noted that the model was the same as Lion Air Flight 610, which also crashed shortly after takeoff in late October 2018 in an incident that killed 189 people on board.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 Max 8 airplane,” Boeing said in a statement on Sunday. “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.”
While the conditions of Sunday’s crash are still unclear, CNN noted some immediate differences between it and the Lion Air incident last year. Geoffrey Thomas, the editor of Airline Ratings, told CNN that transmissions were received from the Lion Air flight up until the moment it crashed, whereas transmissions were reportedly lost with Flight 302 prior to impact.
According to the Twitter account for Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, March 11 has been declared “a national day of mourning for citizens of all countries that have passed in this tragic accident.” [New York Times]
Featured image: Ben Curtis (AP)