Nairobi, Kenya: An Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashed early on Sunday with 149 passengers and eight crew members aboard, a spokesman for the airline said. “It is confirmed it happened 8.44 (am),”
Flight ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said, confirming the plane was a Boeing 737-800 MAX.
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 dropped from radar 6 minutes after departure from Addis Ababa
The jet is a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 – delivered to the airline just four months ago
Ethiopian Airlines says it believes 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board a plane that crashed six minutes after taking off from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on a flight to Nairobi.
A statement from the airline on Sunday morning said the Boeing 737 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, shortly after taking off at 8:38 a.m. local time.
The airline statement said “search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties.”
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office in a separate, earlier statement offered condolences to families.
The Ethiopian prime minister’s office says an Ethiopian Airlines plane has crashed on its way to Nairobi, with deaths reported.
The office issued a statement Sunday morning saying the Boeing 737 was on a regularly scheduled flight when it crashed. The statement gave no details.
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.
It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.
Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after take-off.
Sunday’s crash comes as the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.