Eighteen Canadians dead in Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash

Jon Robinson
March 10, 2019
Written by
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-8 in February 2019 takes off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel. (Photo: LLBG Spotter/Wiki)
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX-8 in February 2019 takes off from Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel. (Photo: LLBG Spotter/Wiki)
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after departing Addis Ababa airport on Sunday, March 10, killing everyone on board, which the airline believes to include 149 passengers and eight crew members – 157 total.

Preliminary reports indicate the Boeing 737 MAX 8, which had flown into Addis Ababa Sunday morning as flight ET858, from Johannesburg, suffered a catastrophic result less than seven minutes into flight 302, after the captain asked for permission from control to turn back.

Flight 302 was heading to Nairobi, Kenya. A statement from Ethiopian Airlines following the disaster indicates 18 Canadians were on board the flight. Canada by nationality would represent the second highest number of deceased in the disaster, following 35 people from Kenya.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement on Sunday, in part: “I am deeply saddened by the terrible plane crash today near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia... On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones as a result of this tragedy. While the causes of the crash continue to be investigated, the safety and security of all Canadians remains our primary concern.”

People from approximately 35 nationalities perished, according to Ethiopian Airlines, including: 9 from 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, and 17 additional people each representing different countries.

This is the second Boeing 737 MAX 8 fatal crash is less than six months, after Lion Air flight Lion Air flight JT610 departed Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, and went down on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board. Flight JT610 crashed minutes after take-off. The BBC, focusing on a November 2018 report about the Lion Air incident, quotes Nurcahyo Utomo, aviation head at the National Transport Safety Committee, as saying, “Several problems occurred simultaneously [during flight JT610].”

No cause has been identified in the Ethiopian Airlines 302 disaster, which will involve a range of investigations and aviation authorities into a myriad of possible causes, and no links can be made between the two crashes at this time.

The 737 MAX was introduced in 2017 with Malindo Air as a fourth-generation platform of Boeing’s narrow-body, short-to-medium range airliner. In addition to a range of upgrades from even Boeing's third-generation 3-7, the 737 MAX features new engines, wings and avionics. It is built in four variants, including: the 149-seat 737 MAX7, 189-seat MAX8, 200-seat MAX200, and 220-seat MAX9.

Boeing released the following statement following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302: “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the passengers and crew on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, a 737 MAX 8 airplane. 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 will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.”

The NTSB, later Sunday, noted it is sending a team of four to support the Ethiopian Accident Investigations Bureau's investigation of the ET302 crash, with assistance to come from technical advisers with FAA, Boeing and GE.

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