Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed that a brand new Boeing 737MAX aircraft was involved in an incident just minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya. According to flight tracking app FlightRadar24, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 was just six minutes into its scheduled two-hour flight when it disappeared from radar close to Bishoftu.
In a statement, the airline said the aircraft was carrying 149 passengers and 8 crew members. The airline has confirmed that all those onboard have died. The passenger manifest suggests that at least 35 nationalities were onboard, including from the USA, Canada, Europe and India, as well as Kenya and Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Prime Ministers Office said in a statement that it wanted to express “it’s deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones.”
The Boeing 737MAX 8 aircraft (registration: ET-AVJ) was delivered new to Ethiopian Airlines just four months ago. The airline has an order for 30 Boeing 737MAX aircraft, which offers more fuel-efficient engines and passenger experience improvements. Around 99 airlines have ordered 737MAX airlines, and over 4,500 have been ordered making it the fastest selling aircraft in Boeing’s history.
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning.
— Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
Additional data from Flightradar24 ADS-B network show that vertical speed was unstable after take off.
Take off 05:38:18 UTC
Last position received by FR24 at 05:41:02 UTC
Please note that Addis Ababa airport is located at 7,625 feet AMSL. pic.twitter.com/Uyvfp1x9Xb
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 10, 2019
“At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities. Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” the airline said in a statement.
“It is believed that there were 149 passengers and 8 crew onboard the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight.”
Accident Bulletin no. 2
Issued on march 10, 2019 at 01:46 PM pic.twitter.com/KFKX6h2mxJ
— Ethiopian Airlines (@flyethiopian) March 10, 2019
This isn’t the first accident involving a Boeing 737MAX aircraft – In October 2018, a brand new Lion Air 737MAX crashed just minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew onboard. The cause of the accident was attributed to the aircraft’s angle of attack sensors, although Boeing faced criticism for changing onboard systems without telling operators or providing further training for pilots.
Ethiopian Airlines is both the largest and fastest growing airline in Africa – it currently has over 100 aircraft in its fleet and flies to approximately 133 destinations. Under its Vision 2025 initiative, Ethiopian Airlines is seeking to become the leading airline group in Africa – it has embarked on an ambitious fleet renewal and growth programme and has taken deliver of 10 Airbus A350 and 23 Boeing 787 Dreamliner family aircraft.
“Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane,” the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer said in a statement.
“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.”