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Leaders mourn victims of Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

Sunday March 10 2019
Family

A Chinese group look as the arrival schedule board as informing about their colleagues who were allegedly onboard the plane that crashed in Ethiopia, at the JKIA in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10, 2019. PHOTO | YASUYOSHI CHIBA | AFP

By AUGUSTINE SANG

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was first to tell the public that an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed on Sunday morning while on its way from Addis Ababa to Kenyan capital Nairobi.

"The Office of the PM, on behalf of the government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express itโ€™s deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya, this morning," the PM tweeted.

Twitter users who responded to his message at the time said they had not heard any news of the accident and wanted to know what had happened.

Shortly after, the carrier confirmed the crash in a statement, saying it believed that 157 people were in the aircraft, 147 being passengers and eight being crew members.

MOURNING

As Ethiopian Airlines conducted a search and rescue operation, leaders and other individuals, as well as organisations, sent condolence messages.

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President Kenyatta wrote on Twitter, "We are saddened by the news ... My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board."

On his official Twitter page as well, Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga said, "My deeply felt condolences to the people of Ethiopia following the crash ... My prayers are with the families and relatives of victims."

National carrier Kenya Airways also condoled with the victim's families, saying, "You can count on our full support at this very difficult moment."

Deputy President William Ruto, "Saddened by news of an incident involving an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi ... Our thoughts and prayers are with the families whose loved ones were on board."

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said, "Saddened by the news ... My prayers and thoughts are with the families and friends of the 149 passengers and crew on board.

HOTLINES

As condolence messages were sent, Ethiopian Airlines issued the following as emergency hotlines: (251)11 5 17 87 33, (251)115 17 47 35 and (251)11 5 17 41 00.

For all information necessary, friends and family were asked to call (251)11 5 17 89 45, (251)11 5 17 89 87, (251)11 5 17 82 31 and (251)11 5 17 85 58.

Kenyan Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, in a press conference, said the plane should have landed in Nairobi art about 10.35am.

He said the ministry would establish two emergency centres for family and friends to be kept updated.

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