By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
Kenya was the worst hit in the Ethiopian airplane accident on Sunday that claimed a hundreds of lives on board.
Out of 149 passengers and 8 crews, 32 were Kenyans in the ill-fated plane that had people from 33 nationalities. Canada had 18 and Ethiopia nine followed by Italy, China and US with 8 each. United Kingdom and France had 7 people each, Egypt had 6, Netherlands five, India 4 and Russia 3. Israel, Poland, Spain and Morocco are grieving two casualties each.
Nepal, Nigeria, Indonesia, Djibouti, Ireland, Belgium, Rwanda, Norway, Mozambique, Somalia, Togo, Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan Serbia and Uganda each had one national in the plane.
The Boeing 737 Max 800 aircraft, registration ET-AVJ and serial number 62450 nosedived into the ground outside the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa few minutes after leaving Bole International airport.
The cause of the disaster is yet to be known. However, Swedish flight tracking website revealed that the pilot had reported difficulties two minutes after leaving the airport. The plane took off at 8:38 am (local time).
“Data from Flightradar24 ADS-B network shows that vertical speed was unstable after take off,” reads Twitter feed of the Swedish based flight trafficking organization.
“It is too early to speculate the cause of the accident and further investigation will be carried out in collaboration with all stakeholders, including the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority,” said Mr. Tewolde Gabremariam, the airline chief executive officer.
It is understood that the problem persisted and the pilot was cleared to turn back and land at Bole. Unfortunately, the tracking site lost its position in less than ten minutes after the departure time.
According to Mr. Gabremariam, Boeing 737 had arrived to Addis Ababa from Johannesburg, South Africa, stayed on the ground for three hours then left for Nairobi
Kenyan government through Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has revealed that it has notified 25 families of the victims and is swiftly working out how to reach the remaining ones.
Mr. Macharia further disclosed that a team comprising of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, National Disaster Unit, Kenya Airport Authority, Port Health, Air Accident Investigation, Immigration, Government Chemist and Ethiopian Airline are working tirelessly to aid the victims.
The tragedy came barely six months after last year October’s Lion Air Crash which killed nearly 190 passengers aboard.
It has been reported that some passengers were heading to a session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.