Kenya sends team to Ethiopia after 32 nationals perish in plane crash
NAIROBI, March 10 — Kenya said on Sunday it has sent a team to Ethiopia to deal with the aftermath of an Ethipian Airlines jet crash that killed all 157 aboard, including 32 Kenyan nationals.
“There were at least thirty-five nationalities and regrettably Kenya is the highest with 32 passengers on board,” James Macharia, cabinet secretary for transport and infrastructure, told a news conference in Nairobi.
The government is now focusing more on the welfare of the victims’ friends and relatives who are now within the vicinity of the airport, he said.
Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, told a press conference in Addis Ababa that the victims also include 18 from Canada, nine from Ethiopia, eight each from China, Italy and the United States, seven each from Britain and France, six from Egypt, and five from the Netherlands.
They also include four each from India and Slovakia, three each from Austria, Russia and Sweden, two each from Israel, Morocco, Poland and Spain, and one each from Belgium, Djibouti, Indonesia, Ireland, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, and Yemen, Gebremariam said.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 MAX, took off at 08:38 a.m. local time Sunday from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and lost contact at 08:44 a.m., and crashed around Bishoftu town, some 45 km from the capital Addis Ababa, the airline said.
“At this stage, we cannot determine the cause of the accident,” Gebremariam said.
The aircraft, which was obtained by the Ethiopian airline last November, has only been in service for four months, flying more than 1,200 hours until Sunday’s crash, according to the airline.
The flight’s captain, Yared Mulugeta, has been working with the airline since 2010, Gebremariam said.
“He is a senior pilot with more than 8,000 hours,” the CEO said.
“Today is a very sad and tragic day for all of us,” Gebremariam said.