An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after taking off from Ethiopia’s capital Sunday morning, killing all 157 passengers and crew members on board.
The passengers included eight Americans, Fox News reported. The Boeing 737-8 MAX plane took off from Addis Ababa’s Bole airport at 8:38 a.m. en route to Nairobi, Kenya. The control tower lost contact with the plane minutes later at 8:44 a.m.
The doomed aircraft sent out a distress call and was cleared to return to the airport but did not make it, The Associated Press reported. Officials located the crash site about 30 miles south of Addis Ababa.
The people dead in the crash represented more than 30 nationalities. The plane was just several months old and had first arrived at the airline in November.
Ethiopian Airlines is a state-owned company and generally seen as the best-managed airline in Africa. The airline has a reputation for adopting new planes and technology early on as it seeks to stay and grow more competitive, according to AP.
The airline released a photo of CEO Tewolde Gebremariam standing amid the wreckage of the crash site.
Boeing, the company that built the plane, is sending a team of technicians to assist Ethiopian authorities investigating the cause 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,” the aircraft manufacturer said in a statement.
The official cause of the crash is unknown. Flight data released by the air traffic monitor Flightradar24 said the plane’s “vertical speed was unstable after take off.”
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