The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi, Kenya, reported “difficulties” and asked to return to Addis Ababa, the company’s CEO told reporters.
The Boeing 737 passenger jet crashed on Sunday morning just minutes after takeoff from the Ethiopian capital.
Despite good weather conditions on Sunday morning, the aircraft crashed in the Bishoftu region of Oromia, about 60 kilometres south of the Ethiopian capital.
The 149 passengers and 8 crew members aboard perished in the accident.
“Mohammed Nur Mohammed (First Officer of Boeing 737 MAX 8) is an Ethiopian Airlines staff member. He has had more than 200 flight hours. After receiving the aircraft, we did the first maintenance check on February 4, 2019. It was new and clean aircraft. I would like to say that we are deeply saddened for the loss of lives of our esteemed passengers and again we wish God brings comfort to their friends, relatives and brothers’‘, Tewolde Gebremariam said.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who visited the crash site expressed his condolences to grieving families via twitter.
In a statement, Boeing expressed its sadness and stated that a technical team was available to assist the investigation. The United States also announced the dispatch of a team of inspectors to assist in the probe.
Ethiopian Airlines has opened a passenger information centre and provided emergency numbers for the relatives of people who may have been on board the plane.
On its Twitter account, the company’s bright coloured logo has been replaced with black and white.