Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. On 10 March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff near the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 passengers and crew aboard. Flight 302 was the first fatal accident occurring on an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft since Flight 409 crashed in January 2010. It is the deadliest aircraft accident in the airline's history, superseding the fatal hijacking of Flight 961 near Comoros in 1996. It is also the deadliest aircraft accident to occur in Ethiopia, replacing the crash of an Ethiopian Air Force Antonov An-26 in 1982, which killed 73.

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Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302
ET-AVJ, the aircraft involved, in February 2019
Accident
Date10 March 2019 (2019-03-10)
SummaryCrashed shortly after take-off; under investigation
SiteTulu Fara village near Bishoftu, Ethiopia
8°52′37″N 39°15′04″E / 8.87694°N 39.25111°E / 8.87694; 39.25111Coordinates: 8°52′37″N 39°15′04″E / 8.87694°N 39.25111°E / 8.87694; 39.25111[1]
Aircraft
Aircraft typeBoeing 737 MAX 8
OperatorEthiopian Airlines
IATA flight No.ET302
ICAO flight No.ETH302
Call signETHIOPIAN 302
RegistrationET-AVJ
Flight originAddis Ababa Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
DestinationJomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya
Occupants157
Passengers149
Crew8
Fatalities157
Injuries0
Missing0
Survivors0

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. On 10 March 2019, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff near the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 passengers and crew aboard. Flight 302 was the first fatal accident occurring on an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft since Flight 409 crashed in January 2010.[2] It is the deadliest aircraft accident in the airline's history, superseding the fatal hijacking of Flight 961 near Comoros in 1996.[3] It is also the deadliest aircraft accident to occur in Ethiopia, replacing the crash of an Ethiopian Air Force Antonov An-26 in 1982, which killed 73.[4]

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 model first flew on 29 January 2016 and entered service in 2017, making it one of the newest aircraft in Boeing's commercial airliner offerings, and the newest generation of Boeing 737.[5] As of January 2019, 350 aircraft of this model have been produced, and one other has crashed, Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018.[6][3][7][8] Following the accident, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model was grounded in several countries and by several airlines.

Flight

The aircraft was a Boeing 737 MAX 8, registered ET-AVJ (construction number 62450, manufacturer's serial number 7243), powered by two CFM International LEAP engines.[9] The aircraft was manufactured in October 2018 and delivered on 15 November 2018, making it around four months old at the time of the accident.[10][11]

Accident

Flight 302 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. The aircraft took off from Addis Ababa 08:38 local time (05:38 UTC) with 149 passengers and 8 crew on board.[6] The pilot reported a problem to flight control and asked to return to Addis Ababa,[9] but the aircraft then disappeared from radar screens and crashed at 08:44, six minutes after takeoff.[3][9][12] Flight tracking data showed that the aircraft's altitude and rate of climb and descent were fluctuating.[13] It crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 62 kilometres (39 mi) southeast of Bole International Airport.[14] Photographs of the accident site show a large crater with only small pieces of wreckage.[15] There were no survivors.[6] Witnesses reported that the aircraft was making "strange noises" and leaving a "trail of smoke" behind it, with sparks from the back, fire close to the tail, and falling debris such as clothes and paper, just before it crashed.[16][17]

Passengers and crew

All passengers and crew on board, 157 in total, were killed in the accident.[3] Many of the passengers were travelling to Nairobi to attend the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.[18] Twelve of the victims worked for the United Nations,[19] and at least another seven had other UN affiliations.[20]

Victims included the Italian archaeologist and Councillor for Cultural Heritage of Sicily, Sebastiano Tusa, and Nigerian-Canadian academic Pius Adesanmi.[21][22] It was originally reported that there were five Dutch victims,[2] but this was later corrected to state that they were German.[23] Slovak politician Anton Hrnko lost his wife and two children in the crash.[3] A Greek man and an Emirati man missed the flight and avoided the disaster.[20]

According to the airline, the 149 passengers had 35 different nationalities. They are as follows:[24]

Country Number of passenger fatalities
Kenya 32
Canada 18
Ethiopia 9
China 8[lower-alpha 1]
Italy 8
United States 8
France 7
United Kingdom 7
Egypt 6
Germany 5
India 4
Slovakia 4
Austria 3
Russia 3
Sweden 3
Israel 2
Morocco 2
Poland 2
Spain 2
Belgium 1
Djibouti 1
Indonesia 1
Ireland 1
Mozambique 1
Nepal 1
Nigeria 1
Norway 1
Rwanda 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Serbia 1
Somalia 1
Sudan 1
Togo 1
Uganda 1
Yemen 1
Total 149

The airline stated that one passenger had a United Nations laissez-passer.[24]

The pilot of the plane was 29-year-old Yared Getachew, who had been flying with the airline for ten years and had logged a total of 8,231 flight hours. He had been a Boeing 737 captain since November 2017.[26][27][24] At the time of the accident, he was the youngest captain at the airline.[27] The first officer, Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur, was a recent graduate from the airline's academy with 200 flight hours logged.[27][24]

Reactions

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed offered his condolences to the families of the victims.[6] Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam visited the accident site, confirmed that there were no survivors and expressed sympathy and condolences.[28] Boeing issued a statement of condolence.[29]

The Ethiopian parliament declared 11 March as a day of national mourning.[30] During the opening of the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, a minute of silence was observed in sympathy for the victims.[31] President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, in his condolence message on behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria, extended his sincere condolences to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, China and all other nations who lost citizens in the crash.[32]

Flight International commented that the accident would likely increase unease felt in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident in October 2018, which similarly occurred shortly after take-off.[33]

Groundings

As a result of the accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, which occurred five months prior to the Ethiopian crash, most airlines and countries began grounding the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (and in many cases all MAX variants) due to safety concerns. Airlines grounding their MAX fleets included Aerolineas Argentinas,[34] Aeromexico,[34] Cayman Airways,[35] Ethiopian Airlines,[36] GOL,[34] MIAT Mongolian Airlines,[37] Royal Air Maroc,[38], Sunwing [39], and Comair Limited.[40] Some aviation authorities have grounded all MAX aircraft under their jurisdiction, also encompassing transiting flights, including the Civil Aviation Administration of China,[41] the European Aviation Safety Agency,[42] India's Ministry of Civil Aviation,[42] Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation,[43][41] the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia,[44] the Civil Aviation Authority of Mongolia,[45] South Korea's Office of Civil Aviation,[46] the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore,[47] Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure,[48] the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority,[49] Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority[50][51] and the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.[52]

Other airlines, however, continued to operate their 737 MAXs. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declined to ground the aircraft.[53][54] Transport Canada has likewise declined to ground the aircraft, with the Transport Minister expected to explain their reasoning during a press conference on the morning of March 13.[55]

Investigation

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority is responsible for investigating civil aviation accidents in Ethiopia. The aircraft manufacturer, Boeing, stated that it is prepared to work with the United States National Transportation Safety Board and assist Ethiopian Airlines.[29] The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will also assist in the investigation.[56]

Both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were recovered from the crash site on 11 March.[57]

On 11 March, the FAA commented that the Boeing 737 Max 8 model was airworthy. However, due to concerns on the operation of the aircraft, the FAA ordered Boeing to implement design changes, effective by April.[37] It stated that Boeing "plans to update training requirements and flight crew manuals in response to the design change" to the aircraft's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). The changes will also include enhancements to the activation of the MCAS and the angle of attack signal.[58] Boeing stated that the upgrade was developed in response to the Lion Air crash but did not link it to the Ethiopian Airlines crash.[59]

See also

Notes

  1. Including:

References

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