A Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 crashed minutes after an early-morning takeoff from Addis Ababa om Sunday, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including four Indians, tourists, business travellers, and at least one delegate to a UN meeting.
Amid a global stream of condolences, many gathered in tears at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), as the victims’ identities started to emerge.
“It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala, died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning,” Slovak MP Anton Hrnko wrote on Facebook.
An eyewitness told AFP the plane came down in flames.
The Ethiopian Airlines CEO and Kenya’s transport minister said Indians, Canadians, Chinese, Americans and others were among the many nationalities among the victims of Sunday morning's deadly plane crash after takeoff from Addis Ababa. Authorities earlier said 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians were killed.
Then they added that 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the US and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia died.
Foreign governments said tourists, business people, doctors, and a Kenyan football official were among the dead.
It was not clear what caused the crash of new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane shortly after takeoff from Bole Airport en route to Kenya's capital, Nairobi.
The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.
For one family member waiting in Nairobi there was a happy ending. Khalid Ali Abdulrahman was waiting for his son who works in Dubai and feared the worst when he got to know about the crash. “I was shocked, but soon my son contacted me and told he is still in Addis and did not board that flight.”