Number of Britons killed in Ethiopian plane crash rises to nine

The number of Britons killed in a plane crash in Ethiopia has risen to nine, officials have confirmed.

The Foreign Office said nine British nationals were on board the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 which crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

While originally it was thought seven Britons had been on the jet, the department said on Monday this had been increased to "reflect updated information regarding dual nationals".

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People walk past a part of the wreckage at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Ethiopian plane crash today LIVE Updates: The Ethiopian prime minister's official Twitter also expressed condolences to families of those lost in the crash.
A Chinese group look at the arrival flight schedule as informing about their colleagues who were allegedly onboard the plane that crashed in Ethiopia, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10, 2019. - An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on March 10 morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board, Ethiopian Airlines said. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Chinese group send messages as informing about their colleagues who were allegedly onboard the plane that crashed in Ethiopia, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10, 2019. - An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on March 10 morning en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board, Ethiopian Airlines said. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP) (Photo credit should read YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)
Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, March 10, 2019. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia's capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
Family members arrive at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 10, 2019, to check on information on the Ethiopian flight that crashed. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said. (AP Photo/Elias Masseret)
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
An Ethiopian Airports Enterprise fire engine drives to the scene of the Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
A general view shows the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
A passenger safety instruction card is seen at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
People walk at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
A general view shows the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
Relatives of the victims involved in a plane crash wait for information Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, March 10, 2019. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia's capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Passengers wait outside the Bole International airport Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 10, 2019. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia's capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)
Family members arrive at Bole International airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday, March 10, 2019, to check on information on the Ethiopian flight that crashed. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said. (AP Photo/Elias Masseret)
In this photo taken from the Ethiopian Airlines Facebook page, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebremariam, looks at the wreckage of the plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday March 10, 2019. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia's capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi. (Facebook via AP)
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The Foreign Office said at least two additional dual nationals were travelling on non-UK passports, bringing the total number of British nationals involved to nine.

A spokesman added: "We can now sadly confirm at least nine British nationals were on board flight ET302.

"Our staff at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa are continuing to work with the relevant authorities in Ethiopia to obtain further information.

"We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and those affected by this tragic event."

Several airlines serving UK airports are continuing to fly the aircraft model involved in the deadly crash, despite it being grounded in several countries including China, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Tui Airways has the only five 737 Max 8 aircraft operated by a UK-based airline, and is due to begin flying a sixth later this week.

Boeing 737 MAX 8
(PA Graphics)

Asked if the airline would take any action in response to the crash, a spokesman for parent company Tui said: "We do not comment on any speculation and we are, as always, in close contact with the manufacturer.

"We have no indication that we can't operate our 737 Max in a safe way like we do with all other planes in our network."

Scandinavian airline Norwegian, which serves London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK, has 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Tomas Hesthammer, the carrier's director of flight operations, said: "All of our Boeing 737 Max aircraft are operating as normal."

A number of airlines have grounded their fleet of the aircraft model, including Royal Air Maroc, Cayman Airways, Mongolian Airlines and Comair, which is a British Airways franchise in southern Africa.

A Comair spokesman said it would not fly its 737 Max 8s "while it consults with other operators, Boeing and technical experts".

The Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed six minutes after taking off from the capital Addis Ababa.

Both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were recovered from the wreckage.

While the cause is not yet known, the crash shared similarities with last year's Lion Air jet crash in the Java Sea, which killed 189. That also involved a 737 Max 8 crashing minutes after take-off.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for issuing safety certificates for the aircraft, said it was "closely monitoring developments".

This process is validated for European Union countries by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said it was "liaising very closely" with EASA.

Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam said the pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all-clear to return to the airport.

Senior captain Yared Getachew had a "commendable performance" having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.

Chicago-based Boeing is facing pressure to guarantee the safety of its 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The firm's chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said it was providing "technical assistance" to the Ethiopian government and regulatory authorities in their investigation.

Ethiopian Airlines crash
(PA Graphics)

Shares in Boeing were down nearly 9% in Frankfurt and also fell 9% in pre-market trading in New York.

The Max aircraft has engines which are higher on the wing than previous models of the 737.

This affects aerodynamics, leading to Boeing introducing new software designed to prevent stalling.

The passengers killed in Sunday's crash came from 35 nations, including 32 from Kenya and 18 from Canada.

United Nations worker Joanna Toole, 36, from Devon, was among the dead.

Colleagues at the UN fisheries and aquaculture department described Ms Toole as a "wonderful human being", while her father said she was a "very soft and loving" woman.

Ms Toole's father Adrian, from Exmouth, told the DevonLive website that she was "genuinely one of those people who you never hear a bad word about".

"Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did, we're still in a state of shock," he added.

Ethiopia Plane Crash
Wreckage at the scene of the crash (AP)

Joseph Waithaka, 55, who lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, also died in the crash, his son said.

Ben Kuria, 30, who lives in south London, said his father regularly visited England and was returning from a trip to meet his two-month-old granddaughter and get a health check-up when he died.

Mr Kuria said: "He's someone who really loved justice, and didn't give up on people most people had given up on.

"He really just wanted the best for his kids. He was a father not just to us but to so many people in so many ways."

The one Irish victim was named as Michael Ryan, a married father-of-two based in Rome with the UN's World Food Programme, which distributes rations to people in need.

Known as Mick and formerly from Lahinch in Co Clare, Mr Ryan was praised for "doing life-changing work in Africa" by Irish premier Leo Varadkar.

As many as 19 UN workers were feared to have been killed in the crash, the number being so high because of its environmental forum which started on Monday.

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