Ethiopian Airlines: ‘No survivors’ on crashed Boeing 737

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An Ethiopian Airlines jet has crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all on board, the airline says.

It said 149 passengers and eight crew members were believed to be on flight ET302 from the Ethiopian capital to Nairobi in Kenya.

The airline added that there were 33 different nationalities on board.

The crash happened at 08.44 local time, six minutes after the months-old Boeing 737 Max-8 took off.

It is not yet clear what caused the accident.

Eight Chinese nationals were on board the crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight, Chinese state media report.

Earlier, the airline said all the 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on the flight, from 33 nationalities, died in the Sunday morning crash.

Our colleague Jibat Tamirat from BBC Amharic has just spoken with a man, Bekele Gutema, who says he was near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu, which is 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital.

The eye witness said there was a blast and intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.

He says: “The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it. Everything is burnt down. The firefighters arrived around 11 and the crash happened around 8. There are four helicopters at the scene now. No one will survive.”

First word of the crash came when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his “deepest condolences” on Twitter.

Boeing, the company that built the aeroplane, said in a tweet that it was “closely monitoring the situation”.

Its 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having been launched in 2016. It was added to the Ethiopian Airlines fleet in July last year.

Another plane of the same model was involved in a crash five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

The Kenyan government is “supporting” the Ethiopian authorities following the crash, the country’s Transport Secretary has said.

James Wainaina Macharia said support centres had been set up near Jomo Kenyatta airport.

He also called for “highest level of privacy” for the family and friends of those feared to have been on board the flight.

Kenya has set up a hotline for those whose family and friends may have been on the flight: (+254)733666066.

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