Seven British people died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 on board, Kenya’s transport secretary James Macharia has said.
Kenyan authorities said the Brits were among 33 nationalities on board the plane that crashed minutes after take off from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The plane crashed near the town of Bishoftu, around 30 miles southeast of the Ethiopian capital, Ethiopia’s state broadcaster reported.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam at the accident scene (Picture: Ethiopian Airlines)
The British Embassy in Ethiopia this afternoon tweeted: ‘Anyone worried that a British loved one may have been affected by the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 should call Ethiopian’s emergency numbers.
‘You can also call the Foreign Office on +44207 008 1500 or British Embassy Addis Ababa on +251 116 170 100.’
Authorities added that Kenyans, Ethiopians, Chinese, Canadians, Americans, Italians, Indians, French and Egyptian citizens were also killed in the plane crash.
A statement by the Ethiopian prime minister’s office offered its ‘deepest condolences’ to families.
The cause of the crash of the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane was not immediately known.
‘My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board,’ said Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) workers hang an information notice of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Picture: AFP/Getty)
People were seen checking their phones near the flight information board as the plane’s status changed to ‘delayed’ (Picture: Reuters)The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane was delivered to the airline in mid-November.
Kenyan transport secretary Macharia earlier described the crash as a ‘regrettable incident’.
Britain battered by snow, ice and 65mph wind with weather warnings swamping UKHe said Kenyan authorities were trying to find out exactly what happened, but because the plane came down in Ethiopian airspace they had limited information.
Mr Macharia told reporters: ‘It is a very sensitive emotional matter.
‘We are waiting for more information to come from Ethiopian Airlines.
‘What we are doing ourselves is to provide as much support as possible to relatives and friends waiting to meet passengers.’
He said they would be taken to a hotel at Nairobi airport where an emergency centre had been set up to provide them with support and assistance.
Anyone worried that a British loved one may have been affected by the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 should call Ethiopian’s emergency numbers (attached). You can also call the Foreign Office on +44207 008 1500 or British Embassy Addis Ababa on +251 116 170 100 pic.twitter.com/s7XtDFRzwD
— UK in Ethiopia 🇬🇧 (@UKinEthiopia) March 10, 2019
The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after take-off from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board.
Sunday’s crash comes as the country’s reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centred economy.
Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.
Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new ‘Airport City’ terminal in Bishoftu – where Sunday’s crash occurred.