The Ethiopian Airlines crash: what we know so far

An Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board, including seven British passengers.

Here is what we know so far:

– The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles (50km) south of the Ethiopian capital, shortly after taking off at 8.38am local time on Sunday.

– There were 149 passengers and eight crew on board flight ET302 which was heading for Nairobi, Kenya. There were no survivors.

Ethiopia Plane Crash
A passenger’s passport lies on the ground at the scene of the crash (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

– The victims comprised more than 35 nationalities, the majority of whom were from Kenya, Canada, Ethiopia, China, Italy, the US, France, the UK, Egypt and Germany.

– Among them were United Nations workers Joanna Toole, 36, from Devon, and father-of-two Michael Ryan, who had lived in Lahinch in Co Clare. Joseph Waithaka, a 55-year-old who lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, also died in the crash.

– Early indications showed that 19 employees of UN-affiliated organisations were killed, with its environmental forum due to start in Nairobi on Monday.

Ethiopia Plane Crash
Rescuers at the scene of the crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

– The cause of the disaster is yet to be determined; however, it has already had a wider impact on operations of Boeing’s 737 Max 8, one of which was involved in another deadly crash less than five months ago.

– Ethiopian Airlines said it has grounded all of its Max 8 aircraft as an “extra safety precaution”.

– All Chinese airlines have suspended operations involving the Max 8 on the orders of the country’s civil aviation authority.

– Cayman Airways, which operates two Max 8s in the Caribbean, has also suspended operations to maintain “complete and undoubtable safe operations”.

Ethiopia Plane Crash
Aircraft parts lie on the ground (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

– Records show that Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of its doomed aircraft as recently as November.

– The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa earlier on Sunday morning, and previously underwent “rigorous” testing on February 4, according to the airline.

– Minutes into the flight the pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return, according to Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.

– An eyewitness said there an intense fire when the plane crashed and “everything is burnt down”.

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