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Pilots of ill-fated flight 'highly experienced'

Monday March 11 2019

ET302, Ethiopian Airlines

Emergency responders at the site of the crashed plane at Bishoftu in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019. PHOTO | MICHAEL TEWELDE | AFP 

ANDUALEM SISAY
By ANDUALEM SISAY
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ADDIS ABABA,

Both the captain and the first officer of the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 were experienced pilots, official said.

The airlines Group CEO, Mr Tewolde Gebre-Mariam, said Capitan Yared Mulugeta, an Ethiopian-born Kenyan national, was a senior pilot, who had been flying the same plane since November 2007.

His first officer, Mr Ahmednur Mohamednur, had several flight hours under his belt, Mr Tewolde disclosed in his briefing to the press in Addis Ababa, after visiting the crash site.

The Group CEO further disclosed that Boeing 737 Max-8 plane underwent a routine maintenance on February 4, 2019.

The aircraft, with 157 people on board, including eight crew members, was flying from Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport to Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

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It took off at 08:38am Ethiopian time and lost contact at 08:44am, according to the Ethiopia Airlines statement.

The passenger details indicated that there 33 nationalities on the flight, with Kenya having the majority at 32.

Also on the flight were 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and eight Americans.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent his message of condolences to all those who lost their loved ones.

"The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’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," twitted the Prime Minister Office of Ethiopia.

The crash was Ethiopian Airlines' second major accident since the 1996 Comoros hijacking tragedy that culminated in a crash that killed 125 of the 175 passengers.