Within six minutes of an 8:38 am Sunday departure from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, air traffic control lost contact with the pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX8 plane flying to Nairobi, Kenya.
The pilot had reported “difficulties” shortly after the morning takeoff, requesting permission to return.
That was the last contact with the regularly scheduled flight.
There were no survivors in the crash, which included two Israelis among the 149 passengers from 33 countries who lost their lives. Eight crew members were also killed.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video filmed outside the Foreign Ministry’s emergency situation room that he had arrived to monitor reports from Ethiopia. “Unfortunately our ambassador in Ethiopia told us that two Israelis were killed in the plane crash,” he said. “Our hearts are with the families.”
Included among the foreign nationals who also lost their lives were 32 citizens of Kenya; 18 Canadians; nine Ethiopian nationals; and eight citizens of the United States, Italy and China; seven each from Britain and France, six Egyptians, five Dutch nationals, four citizens each from India and Slovakia and one Irish national.
Boeing said in a statement in response to news of the crash, “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”