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Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX Crashes After Takeoff from Addis Ababa (Update)

March 10, 2019
3 min read
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX Crashes After Takeoff from Addis Ababa (Update)

This post has been updated with additional information as of 1:40pm on 03/10/19.

Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian government officials have confirmed that an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa International Airport (ADD). The flight Ethiopian Airlines ET302 was en route to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO).

According to the airline, 149 passengers and 8 crew members were on board the flight to Nairobi. The Prime Minister acknowledged via Twitter that there are fatalities.

An Ethiopian Airlines spokesperson has confirmed to TPG that there are no survivors from the crash. The passengers were of 35 nationalities, including eight Americans.

According to Flightradar24, flight ET302 departed Addis Ababa (ADD) at 8:38am with the flight tracking system having lost contact with the aircraft just three minutes after departure around 8:41am due to its limited coverage in the area.

Before losing contact, a distress call was issued. "From the air traffic control records, the pilot said that he was having difficulties and wanted to return," according to airline CEO Tewolde Gebremariam. Senior Captain Yared Getachew was commanding the flight along with First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur. The two had cumulative flight hours of more than 8,000 and 200, respectively.

Image from FlightRadar24.
Image from FlightRadar24.

However, the information that FlightRadar24 was able to track shows unstable vertical speeds, with the aircraft quickly switching between climbing and descending multiple times in the three minute log:

Ethiopian Airlines has reported that the airline lost contact with ET302 at 8:44 AM. Numerous sources report that the aircraft crashed near the city of Adama, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed in a statement that flight ET302 was operated with a Boeing 737 MAX 8 with the registration ET-AVJ. This aircraft was delivered to the airline in Nov. 2018 and entered service the same month. The Boeing 737 MAX Family is Boeing's latest 737-variant having debuted in 2016 and entering into service in 2017.

The Boeing 737 MAX has recently been involved in another notable accident. Lion Air flight 610 crashed shortly after takeoff on Oct. 29, 2018, resulting in the loss of all passengers and crew on board. That incident is still under investigation.

While it is too early to know what may have caused the crash, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement, "Further investigation will be carried out to find out the cause of the accident in collaboration with all stakeholders including the aircraft manufactured Boeing, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and other international entities to maintain the international standard and information will be provided once the cause if identified."

Weather in the region was reportedly uneventful with scattered clouds, light winds and good visibility. Operations at Addis Ababa-Bole International Airport have been unaffected.

Ethiopian Airlines has established informational hotlines for those affected by the incident:

For more information, read TPG's full coverage of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash and aftermath:

Featured image by Craig P Larsen