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Two Nigerians, 155 others die in Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

 

Two Nigerians were among 157 people that died on Sunday in an Ethiopian Airlines jet crash.

 

The passenger jet en route Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed about six minutes after take-off, killing all passengers and eight crew members on board.

 

The Nigerian victims were identified as a popular Nigerian-born Canadian professor and writer, Pius Adesanmi, and Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a former Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Sudan.

 

Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where Adesanmi was a lecturer, said in a statement on its website, “The contributions of Pius Adesnami to Carleton are immeasurable…He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who left a deep imprint on Carleton.”

 

Also on board the flight were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Italians, eight Americans, and seven people each from France and United Kingdom.

 

There were also six Egyptians, five Germans, four people each from Slovakia and India, three people each from Austria, Russia, Sweden, and two people each from Spain, Israel, Morrocco and Poland.

 

The aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX with registration number ET- AVJ, took off at 08.38am local time from Addis Ababa and lost contact at 08.44am.

 

Search and rescue operations began soon after, where it was discovered that there were no survivors, a statement by the airline said.

 

An AFP report said there was a massive crater at the crash site, with belongings and airplane parts scattered widely.

 

Passengers from 33 countries were aboard, said the Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam, in a news conference.

 

According to the airline, the Nigerian whose name was not given, had a United Nations passport.

 

Also onboard the flight were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, eight Italians, eight Americans, and seven people each from France and United Kingdom.

 

There were six Egyptians, five Germans, four people each from Slovakia and India, three people each from Austria, Russia, Sweden, and two people each from Spain, Israel, Morrocco and Poland.

 

Belgium, Djibouti, Indonesia, Ireland, Mozambique, Norway, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Serbia, Togo, Uganda, Yemeni, Nepal each had one national aboard the flight while one other person had a UN passport.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari, in a condolence message to the government and people of Ethiopia, said the high casualty figure was disturbing.

 

The airline said in the statement said, “We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today.”

 

It also confirmed later a report by Ethiopia’s FANA Broadcasting Corporation that there were no survivors.

 

The weather in the capital, according to an AFP report, was clear when the brand-new Boeing plane, delivered to Ethiopia last year, took off. The Boeing came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.

 

The African Union Commission chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he learnt of the crash “with utter shock and immense sadness.”

 

“Our prayers are with the families of the passengers and the crew as authorities search for survivors. I also express our full solidarity with the governments and people of Ethiopia,” he said on Twitter.

 

A statement by a spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as saying in Daura, “On behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria, the President extends his sincere condolences to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, China and all other nations who lost citizens in the air disaster.

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