Plane tragedy: Shock, anguish as Ethiopia mourns

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

A combination of shock and anguish has descended upon Ethiopia since news of Sunday’s plane disaster which killed 157 people.

There were 149 passengers and eight crew on board flight ET 302.

The whole Ethiopian nation is consumed in sorrow and ceremony following what is one of the country’s worst aviation disasters involving Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s biggest aviation outfit with an otherwise good safety record.

Flags are being flown at half-mast as a sombre Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy promised a speedy investigation into the causes of the crash with a committee already set up for this purpose.

According to a tweet by his office the country’s parliament declared Monday a day of national mourning for the victims which involved 32 nationalities - 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Italians, 8 Chinese, 8 Americans, 7 Britons, 7 French, 6 Egyptians, 5 Dutch and a Rwandan among others. 

Up to a dozen of those on board were scheduled for Monday's UN conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi where the flight was heading when it fell from the sky six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport.

The UN says its agencies around the world will fly flags at half-mast in memory of their staff who died.

The ill-fated flight B-737-800MAX with registration number ET-AVJ as it took off at 8:38 local time before losing contact with airport controllers at 8:44 a.m.

The crash site is located in a farmland in Bishoftu, 60km southeast of Addis Ababa where a huge crater strewn with debris from the plane is visible for miles around the area.


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