Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying 149 passengers crashes

Back-to-back crashes have forced airlines to ground Boeing's new 737

Four Indians, including a United Nations consultant attached with the environment ministry, were among those killed when a Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed after taking-off from Addis Ababa, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Sunday.

The airline's statement said: 'At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no information about survivors or any possible casualties'.

Ethiopian Airlines said it had grounded its 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice as an "extra safety precaution" even though it did not know the cause of Sunday's crash.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs conveyed its condolences to Ethiopia. Eight Chinese passengers were on board, said Li Liang, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia.

The carrier said in a press release that it had "teamed up with all stakeholders concerned to conduct forensic investigations and identify the identities of the victims".

The aircraft, flight number ET 302, went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa.

Condoling the deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Anguished by the loss of lives due to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane".

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Ethiopia Airlines has gained the reputation of being one of the best airlines in Africa.

Carleton University said Global Affairs Canada confirmed the Nigeria-born academic was among the victims travelling on the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The airline said that it had contacted the families of the deceased as of Sunday evening local time.

A Lion Air plane of the same model crashed in the sea near Indonesia last October with 189 people on board.

Ethiopian Airlines announced the acquisition of the brand new Max aircraft in July.

The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut killing all 90 people on board.

China is an important market for the USA aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.

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