Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

By Joshua Berlinger, Eric Levenson, Rob Picheta, Euan McKirdy, Jessie Yeung and Meg Wagner, CNN
9:41 a.m. ET, March 12, 2019
11:43 a.m. ET, March 10, 2019

Pilot reported difficulties and asked to turn back, airline CEO says

By Max Ramsay

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters at a press conference that the pilot of flight ET 302 that crashed Sunday morning had reported technical difficulties and asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa.

He was given clearance to turn back, according to Mr. GebreMariam, citing the Air Traffic Controllers record.

The senior Ethiopian Airlines pilot had flown more than 8,000 hours. He had an “excellent flying record,” according to the CEO.

A routine maintenance check didn't reveal any problems, he said. GebreMariam said they have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

"As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time.”

GebreMariam also confirmed the company owns 6 other 737 Max 8 aircraft which are in service. Asked about whether the company would be grounding them he explained they wouldn’t as “we don’t know the cause of the accident.”

The Boeing 737 Max 8 airplane had flown into Addis Ababa Sunday morning from Johannesburg on Flight ET858.

The CEO has visited the crash site today. He said the plane “is now right inside the ground” and it was not possible to identify whether it was an emergency landing or a crash. He said there was still smoke at the site when he visited.

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 on March 10, 2019.

11:43 a.m. ET, March 10, 2019

This is the second Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash in months

By Rob Picheta

For the second time in less than six months, a brand-new Boeing aircraft crashed minutes into a flight.

The Ethiopian Airlines tragedy on Sunday comes months after a Lion Air flight went down over the Java Sea in late October, killing all 189 people on board.

There is no suggestion yet as to what caused the latest disaster, and no evidence that the two incidents are linked. All that is known, however, is that both flights took place on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 -- a new model recently unveiled to great fanfare by the US aviation giant, that saw its first flight less than two years ago.

The plane that crashed on Sunday morning was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in November.

In a statement, Boeing said it is deeply saddened to learn of the deaths of those on board.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team. A Boeing technical team is prepared to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board," the company said.

Read more about the Boeing 737 MAX 8 at the link below:

11:43 a.m. ET, March 10, 2019

What we know about the 157 total victims

By Laura Perez Maestro

Ethiopian Airlines says there are no survivors after a Boeing 737 crashed near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Sunday morning. The airline believes there were 149 passengers and eight crew members on board the flight.

The victims are of 35 different nationalities, an airline spokeswoman says, including:

  • 32 Kenya
  • 18 Canada
  • 9 Ethiopia
  • 8 China
  • 8 Italy
  • 8 USA
  • 7 France
  • 7 UK
  • 6 Egypt
  • 5 Germany
  • 4 India
  • 4 Slovakia
  • 3 Austria
  • 3 Russia
  • 3 Sweden
  • 2 Spain
  • 2 Israel
  • 2 Morocco
  • 2 Poland
  • 1 Belgium
  • 1 Djibouti
  • 1 Indonesia
  • 1 Ireland
  • 1 Mozambique
  • 1 Norway
  • 1 Rwanda
  • 1 Saudi
  • 1 Sudan
  • 1 Somalia
  • 1 Serbia
  • 1 Togo
  • 1 Uganda
  • 1 Yemen
  • 1 Nepal
  • 1 Nigeria
  • 1 UN passport
The flight was headed from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya.