8 Americans reported among dead in Ethiopian plane crash

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Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport Sunday, March 10, 2019. An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board, the airline and state broadcaster said, as anxious families rushed to airports […]

UPDATE: 3:15 P.M. CST

The NTSB announced on Sunday that it would be sending a team of four people to assist in the investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board, inckuding eight Americans. 

The airline has an outstanding safety record and this is its first crash in four years.

The aircraft went down just minutes after takeoff into a field.

33 countries had at least one citizen on the plane. 

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Eight Americans are reported dead in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed all 157 passengers on board.

The crash happened early Sunday morning only minutes after the plane took off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. The plane went down in a field about 30 miles southeast of the airport.

The flight was headed for Nairobi.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, according to available information.

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the plane that crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya’s capital. The crash occurred around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.

The plane had showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a Twitter post. Visibility was clear.

State broadcaster EBC reported all passengers were dead and that they included 33 nationalities. An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians were among the victims.

The airline released a photo of CEO Tewolde Gebremariam standing at the crash site, where little of what could be identified as an airplane could be seen.

The Ethiopian prime minister’s office offered its “deepest condolences” to families.

The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route links East Africa’s two largest economic powers and is popular with tourists making their way to safari and other destinations. Sunburned travelers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport’s waiting areas, along with businessmen from China and elsewhere.

Kenya’s transport minister, James Macharia, told reporters that authorities had not yet received the passenger manifest. He said an emergency response had been set up for family and friends.

“My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board,” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to assist in the investigation.

Boeing said in a statement that  it was “deeply saddened” to hear of the crash and that a technical team was ready to provide assistance at the request of the NTSB.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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