News Africa

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Ethiopian Airlines crash: what we know so far about the tragedy - and the victims

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holds a press briefing at the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam holds a press briefing at the headquarters of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
A woman reacts as she waits for the updated flight information of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, where her fiance was onboard at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
People walk past a part of the wreckage at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
A general view shows the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) workers hang an information notice of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A passenger safety instruction card is seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) workers hang an information notice of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board including seven British passengers.

Here is what we know so far:

 

- The Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles south of the capital, shortly after taking off on Sunday at 8.38 am local time.

- There were 149 passengers and eight crew on board flight ET302 which was headed for Nairobi, Kenya.

- There were more than 35 nationalities among the victims, including Kenyan, Canadian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Italian, American, French, British, Egyptian, German, Indian, Slovakian, Austrian, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Israeli, Moroccan, Polish, Belgian, Djibouti, Indonesian, Irish, Mozambican, Norwegian, Rwandan, Saudi Arabian, Sudanese, Somalian, Serbian, Togolese, Ugandan, Yemeni, Nepalese and Nigerian.

- The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.

- The pilot had sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return, according to Ethiopian Airlines chief executive, Tewolde Gebremariam.

- The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa earlier on Sunday morning, and previously underwent "rigorous" testing on February 4, according to the airline.

- An eyewitness has described how there was an intense fire when the plane crashed and "everything is burnt down".

- Images of where the jetliner crashed show that little remains of the aircraft.

- Records show the aircraft had been delivered to Ethiopian Airlines as recently as November.

- It was the second Boeing 737 MAX 8 to crash in recent months.

 

Ethiopian Airlines said 157 passengers and crew-members were killed. Seven Britons and one Irish citizen were among the dead as were doctors, aid workers and three members of a Slovakian MP's family.

 

Here is what we know so far about the victims:

- Joanna Toole, a 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was heading to Nairobi to attend the UN Environment Assembly when she was killed.

Father Adrian described her as a "very soft and loving" woman whose "work was not a job - it was her vocation".

"Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did, we're still in a state of shock. Joanna was genuinely one of those people who you never heard a bad word about," he told the DevonLive website.

He also said she used to keep homing pigeons and pet rats and travelled to the remote Faroe Islands to prevent whaling.

Manuel Barange, the director of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations fisheries and aquaculture department, tweeted saying he was "profoundly sad and lost for words" over the death of the "wonderful human being".

- Irishman Michael Ryan was reported to have been among the dead by the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), which describes itself as a leading humanitarian organisation distributing billions of rations every year to those in need.

"I can very, very sadly confirm that Michael Ryan worked for WFP and was based at our headquarters in Rome and was among those killed on ET 302. All of WFP's thoughts and condolences are with the families of those killed," a spokesman said.

- Anton Hrnko, an MP for the nationalist Slovak National Party, said he was "in deep grief" to announce that his wife Blanka, daughter Michala and son Martin were among the dead.

- Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced "with immense shock and grief" that its chief executive Jonathan Seex was among the fatalities.

- Paolo Dieci, a founder of an aid group that works with Unicef in Africa, was also reported as among the dead.

The International Committee for the Development of Peoples group said: "The world of international cooperation has lost one of its most brilliant advocates and Italian civil society has lost a precious point of reference."

- The mayor of the northern Italian city of Bergamo said three members of humanitarian organisation Africa Tremila were on board.

Giorgio Gori said on Facebook that the aid group's president Carlo Spini, his wife, and treasurer Matteo Ravasio were among the eight Italians killed.

- Sicilian regional culture ministry assessor Sebastiano Tusa was also reportedly on the plane.

- The African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe said co-chairman Karim Saafi had been a passenger on the flight and had been due to represent them at a meeting with the African Union in Nairobi.

"Karim's smile, his charming and generous personality, eternal positivity, and his noble contribution to youth employment, diaspora engagement and Africa's socio-economic development will never be forgotten," a statement said.

- Hussein Swaleh, the former secretary general of the Football Kenya Federation, was named as being among the dead by Sofapaka Football Club.

He was due to return home on the flight after working as the match commissioner in an African Champions League game in Egypt on Friday.

- Austrian media reported that three doctors who were aged between 30 and 40 and worked at hospitals in Linz had died.

- Save the Children said its child protection in emergencies adviser Tamirat Mulu Demessie was among the dead.

He "worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children are safe during humanitarian crises", the charity said.

- Three of the Russians on board were tourists Yekaterina Polyakova, Alexander Polyakov and Sergei Vyalikov, the Russian Embassy in Ethiopia said. The first two were reportedly married.

Press Association

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