Monday, 11 March 2019

No survivors on Ethiopian Airlines ET302

"There are no survivors" an Ethiopian Airlines spokesperson grimly told the world after a brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 fell out of the skies just after taking off from Bole Airport, Addis Ababa on Sunday. 

The jet was operating flight ET302 and was embarking on a flight to Nairobi with 149 passengers and 8 crew, departing at 0838 on Sunday morning.  The passengers were a mix of nationalities. including 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 people from Ethiopia, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 were from the UK, 7 people were French citizens, 6 from Egypt, 5 Dutch citizens, 4 Indians and 4 people from Slovakia. Sweden, Russia and Austra each had three nationals on the flight. There were 2 Spanish, 2 Israeli's, 2 Moroccans and 2 Poles. There was also one passenger each from Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen. Many were returning home, others were tourists enjoying a holiday of a lifetime, while others were travelling on business including those working for the United Nations, yet sadly none would reach the destination. Shortly after takeoff, the tower lost contact with the doomed aircraft in the air for around just six minutes before flight ET302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 39 miles (62km) south-east of the Ethiopian capital.

Flightradar24 plotted the aircraft's final movements. 

© Preston Fiedler

The aircraft was 737 MAX 8, registration ET-AVJ, manufactured by Boeing was just 4 months old and powered by 2 CFMI LEAP-1B engines. It was the same type of brand new Boeing of Lion Air that crashed shortly after taking off in Indonesia in October last year. All passengers and crew on that flight, JT610 also perished, with some relatives taking legal action against the US manufacturer. 

The cause of the crash has not as yet, been established, it is understood the captain, Yared Getachew had asked air traffic controllers he wished to return to the airport. Details regarding the last few seconds of the flight show the aircraft climbing and falling rapidly with speed decreasing and increasing alarmingly. 

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam visited the scene of the crash and also informed the media at a press conference  "We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation." He also confirmed the aircraft which had only been in regular service since the beginning of February, had no mechanical issues,  “As I said, it is a brand new aeroplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot.

The senior he Captain was Yared Getachew who had amassed over 8,000 flying hours and an “excellent flying record”. The flights First Officer has also been named as Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur who had 200 flight hours. 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, "The office of the PM, on behalf of government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it's deepest condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning."

Tragically, Slovak MP Anton Hrnko confirmed via social media that his wife and two children had been on the aircraft, "It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala, died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning,". 

UK's Prime Minister Theresa_May "I was deeply saddened to hear of the devastating loss of life following the plane crash in Ethiopia. At this very difficult time, my thoughts are with the families and friends of the British citizens on board and all those affected by this tragic incident." 

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) issued the following statement saying it "would like to express its most sincere condolences to the families of the passengers and crew affected by today’s tragic accident of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, a Boeing 737 Max 8 (reg. ET-AVJ) that crashed shortly after take-off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa."

IFALPA stresses the need to avoid speculation as to what happened to the aircraft. The Federation has reached out to the Ethiopian Air Line Pilots’ Association and will offer the advice and assistance of accident investigation experts familiar with the B737 Max aircraft to the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Agency.