An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on the Addis Ababa-Nairobi route crashed early Sunday morning shortly after take-off and the 157 people, many of them foreigners, who were on board died in the accident.
“The group’s CEO , who is currently at the accident site, regrets to confirm that there are no survivors,” said Ethiopian Airlines.
The statement is accompanied by a photo of the CEO in the middle of an overturned crater, dug by the crash and dotted with personal belongings and debris.
The victims of the crash were of 32 different nationalities, the company said. It included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 French, 7 British, 6 Egyptians, 5 Dutch and 4 Indians.
On site, an AFP team noted the deployment of military and police officers, as well as the presence of an investigation team from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Agency. Plainclothes police banned AFP from taking pictures of the site.
The aircraft took off at 08:38 (05H38 GMT ) from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. The pilot reported “difficulties” soon after and asked to return to Addis, told the press the company’s CEO .
“The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and he wanted to return” and “he was allowed” to turn around and go back to Addis Ababa, said CEO Tewolde GebreMariam, when a press conference in Addis Ababa.
The plane was scheduled to land in Nairobi around 10:30 am (0730 GMT ). The weather was good Sunday morning in Addis Ababa. The plane crashed in the Bishoftu region in the Oromia region, sixty kilometers south of Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a tweet “to express deep condolences to the families of those who lost their beloved loved ones on the scheduled flight of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 to Nairobi, Kenya, this morning”.
“We are saddened by the news that an Ethiopian Airlines airliner crashed six minutes after takeoff to Nairobi. My prayers go to all the families and relatives of those on board, “Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said.
Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the disappearance of Ethiopian Airlines 302 passengers and crew”, in a statement that a technical team was available to assist the investigation.
For its part, Ethiopian Airlines has opened a passenger information center and a phone number for relatives of people who may have been on board the plane. On his Twitter account, the bright colors of the company have been replaced by black and white.
At Nairobi International Airport ( JKIA ), passengers’ relatives were picked up at a hotel located within the airport compound.