Ethiopia has declared Monday a national day of mourning following the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight. Flight 302 took off from the Ethiopia’s capital around 8:30 Sunday. From there it was supposed to make the roughly two-hour trip to Nairobi, Kenya but instead, the plane crashed – minutes into the flight.
Authorities believe none of the 157 aboard survived.
CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports.
Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 lasted just six minutes before losing contact with Air Traffic Control. The jetliner crashed 60 kilometers southeast of Addis Ababa instead of arriving in Nairobi as planned.
There were no survivors amongst the 149 passengers and 8 crew members aboard.
The flight manifest showed more than 30 nationalities, including 32 Kenyans, eight Chinese, and eight from the United States.
The United Nations also said there were UN staff members aboard the flight, some of whom were expected to attend the UN Environment Summit in Nairobi on Monday.
The exact cause of the crash is still unknown as investigators work to recover the aircraft’s data recorders and black boxes.
Ethiopian Airlines said the pilot reported problems after take-off and asked to return to Addis Ababa.
“He had more than 200 flight hours,” said Tewolde Gebremariam, the CEO of Ethiopia Airlines. “After receiving the aircraft, we did the first maintenance check on February 4, 2019. It was a new and clean aircraft.”
The Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new and was launched it 2016, and the airline added it to its fleet last July. It was also the same model of a jetliner, owned by Lion Air that crashed in Indonesia last October that killed almost 200.
A preliminary report suggested that a malfunctioning sensor mistakenly triggered an anti-stall system and pushed that plane into a nose dive.
“”I would be very curious to look at whether the Ethiopian crews had those manuals with those amendments,” said Mikey Kay, a former U.K. Royal Air Force Pilot. “And (also) the training the Ethiopian crews had to deal with these types of issues that caused the Lion Air Crash.”
Boeing has also released a statement expressing its condolences and said it will send a technical team to the crash site to assist Ethiopian authorities. Representatives of the U.S. national Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are also assisting with the investigation.
Mark Weiss on the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Boeing 737 Max-8
For more about the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, CGTN’s Wang Guan spoke with Mark Weiss. It is the second crash within a year involving Boeing’s 737 Max-8. Weiss is the Director of International Operations at Reagan Aerotech.