All passengers dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash, airlines begin grounding 737 fleets
Ethiopian Airlines has announced that there are no survivors from Flight ET302, which crashed Sunday shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa.
The plane, carrying 149 passengers and eight crew, was bound for Nairobi in Kenya, but came down in Bishoftu, 60 kilometres south-east of the capital.
On Twitter, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his "deepest condolences" to the families of those lost.
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s 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.— Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
The Boeing 737 Max-8 was less than a year old, having entered service with Ethiopian Airlines in July last year. Boeing in its own statement said that it was monitoring the situation closely.
On Twitter, the plane manufacturer said it was ready to assist the airline and Ethiopian officials.
The model is the same type as the Lion Air plane that crashed five months ago in Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.
There is no indication yet as to what caused the Ethiopian Airlines plane with 33 nationalities aboard to crash six minutes after it took off.
An eyewitness at the scene said there was a blast and intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.
"Ethiopian Airlines staff have been sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services," a statement from Ethiopian Airlines said.
Boeing’s 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having been launched in 2016.
While Dubai-based budget carrier flydubai has expressed it's confidence in the airworthiness of the model, several airlines around the world have grounded their 737 Max planes.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration was first to order its airlines on Monday morning to ground all of the country’s 96 aircraft in operation. Ethiopian Airlines later followed. The airline has five Boeing 737 Max planes in its fleet, but it was unclear how many are model 8 jets.
Also on Monday, Cayman Airways said it was temporarily grounding its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
Flydubai operates an all Boeing 737 fleet, including the MAX 8, and said that while it would keep the model 8 in operation, it was in touch with Boeing.
"We are monitoring the situation and continue to be in touch with Boeing," a spokeswoman said. "The safety of our passengers and crew is our first priority."