Ethiopian plane with 157 aboard crashes on way to Kenya

Published: March 10, 2019 14:55:38 | Updated: March 10, 2019 16:51:39


Representational image: An Ethiopian Airlines jet on the runway at Heathrow Airport, London, in July 2013. AP

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet has crashed on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya.

The flight is believed to have had 149 passengers and eight crew members on board, the airline says.

A spokesman said the crash happened at 08.44 local time on Sunday, shortly after take-off from the Ethiopian capital.

First word of the crash came when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his "deepest condolences" on Twitter, reports the BBC.

In a statement, the airline said that search and rescue operations were under way near the crash site around the town of Bishoftu.

It did not provide details on the number of casualties.

"Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services," the statement added.

The airline flies to many destinations in Africa, making it a popular carrier in a continent where many airlines fly only from their home country to destinations outside Africa.

It has a good reputation for safety, although in 2010 one of the company's aeroplanes crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after leaving Beirut.

The incident killed 90 people on board.

The airline's highest fatalities to date came in a November 1996 crash during a hijacking on a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.

One of the aeroplane's engines stopped when the fuel ran out and although pilots attempted an emergency water landing, they hit a coral reef in the Indian Ocean and 123 of the 175 people on board were killed.

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