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Plane Crash In Ethiopia Kills All 157 On Board, Including 8 Americans

Plane Crash Ethiopia Kills 157 Including Americans
Source: Getty Images

Mar. 10 2019, Updated 2:38 p.m. ET

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A plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia on Sunday morning, March 10, 2019, killing all 157 people on board, including eight Americans, according to authorities.

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX flight took off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and was bound for Nairobi, Kenya, but it lost contact around six minutes after takeoff, at 8:44 a.m. local time.

The plane went down near Bishoftu. There were 33 nationalities on the plane, with the most people, 32, being from Kenya. With the cause of the crash still unknown, America's National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will send a team to investigate the deadly crash, as CNN reported.

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At a press conference on Sunday, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said that pilot on the flight had reported technical difficulties and asked for clearance to return to the airport in Addis Ababa.

The pilot, who had an "excellent flying record," GebreMariam said, was given clearance to turn back. But he didn't make it.

There was anger in the aftermath of the crash as a witness told the BBC it took rescuers until 11 a.m. to arrive. Bekele Gutema said, "The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it. Everything is burnt down." A relative of one of the passengers told Reuters, "We're just waiting for my mum. We're just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She's not picking up her phone."

There had been no red flags for the plane during a routine maintenance check, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO noted. However, it's the second time in less than six months that a new Boeing aircraft has crashed.

In October 2018, a Lion Air flight went down over the Java Sea and all 189 people on board died. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is a new model from the U.S. aviation company, debuting in 2016. Boeing reportedly issued a safety warning last November about its new 737 Max jets, which could have a fault that causes them to nose-dive.

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After the March 10 crash, the aircraft company said in a statement, "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 names of the dead haven't yet been released.

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