A sudden crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from the state’s capital of Addis Ababa to Nairobi in Kenya Sunday has claimed the life of 157 people, including 18 Canadians.
The airline says they are investigating after the Boeing 737-MAX 8 crashed six minutes after takeoff. Members of the United Nations and the citizens of over 30 other country’s were onboard.
All the identities of those involved have not been released however colleagues say one victim was Carleton University’s Professor Pius Adesamn, from the Department of English Language and Literature and the Institute of African Studies.
He is described as a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship.
It’s been confirmed beloved @Carleton_U Prof. @pius_adesanmi Dir. of @IAS_Carleton & brilliant academic, writer & public intellectual, died in today’s #EthiopianAirlines crash. An enormous loss to his family, friends & ppl. in #Canada, #Nigeria & around the world. #PiusAdesanmi
— Adrian Harewood (@CBCAdrianH) March 10, 2019
Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and her daughter Safiya Faisal Ega, age five were also in the crash. Odowaa leaves behind two daughters, aged seven and three.
Twenty-four-year-old Danielle Moore was onboard heading to a U.N. Environment Assembly in Kenya. She was an activist from Toronto, but was living in Winnipeg.
Moore posted to social media on Saturday as she departed for her trip: “I’m so excited to share that I’ve been selected to attend and am currently en route to the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya with United Nations Association in Canada.”
I’m so excited to share that I’ve been selected to attend and am currently en route to the @UNEnvironment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya with @UNACanada and #CanadaServiceCorps / #LeadersToday! I can’t wait to share what I’m learning along the way.
— Danielle Moore (@danimoos) March 9, 2019
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls the news devastating and that the government is providing emergency consular services to the families affected.
Devastating news from Ethiopia this morning. Our thoughts are with all the victims on flight ET302, including the Canadians who were on board, and everyone who lost friends, family, or loved ones. Canadians in need of assistance, contact [email protected] or 613-996-8885.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 10, 2019
Concerns are surfacing as the crash closely resembles the deadly accident shortly after takeoff of a Lion Air Jet in Indonesia last year. On Oct. 29 the aircraft plunged into the Java Sea killing 189.
Investigators from that crash have not determined a cause, but just after Boeing sent a notice to airlines that faulty information from a sensor could cause the plane to automatically point the nose down.
The notice reminded pilots of the procedure for handling such a situation. The cockpit data recorder that was recovered says the airspeed indicator on the Lion Air jet had malfunctioned on its last four flights.
Experts are cautioning against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known about Sunday’s disaster.
“Of course you can say today they are looking similar but to be fair we have to wait. We don’t know what happened you can’t speculate. However, for the industry losing two Boeing 737 in such a short time is really great pressure to know what happened,” said Kurt Hofmann Aviation Journalist for Air Transport.
The new 737-MAX jet have been adopted by over 100 customers worldwide with nearly 4,700 orders placed. Air Canada and Westjet both use the aircraft.
“WestJet sends heartfelt condolences to those friends and family whose loved ones were on board Ethiopian Airlines flight 302. We are monitoring the situation closely and will not speculate on the cause of the incident,” said WestJet said in a statement to CHEK News.
“Consider 350 MAX that are operational and if you ground 350 MAX it’s a big impact for every airline and someone has to pay compensation for that,” said Hofmann.
The Calgary based airline has 13 MAX aircraft in their fleet of 121 Boeing 737s that fly throughout the network.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is working closely with Ethiopian officials and is shocked and saddened.
“Canadian consular officials were immediately deployed to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport today and are working with Ethiopian government agencies to ascertain the facts and to ensure that we can provide the most effective support to Canadian families at this difficult time,” said Freeland in a statement.
“Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information about Canadian citizens believed to be on board flight ET302 should contact Global Affairs Canada’s Emergency Watch and Response Centre. You can do so by calling 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free) or by sending an email to [email protected].”
The aircraft involved in Sunday’s crash was brand new, delivered to the airline in November.
The state-owned airline is regarded as the best-managed airline in Africa and calls itself Africa’s largest carrier.
“Ethiopian Airlines is one of the safest airlines in the world. At this stage we cannot rule out anything,” CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said.
Boeing said a technical team is being sent to the crash site to provide help under the direction of the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Saftey Board.
The aircraft last maintenance was on Feb. 4, and it had flown just 1,200 hours. The pilot was a senior aviator, joining the airline in 2010, the CEO said.
The plane crashed six minutes after departing, plowing into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.
The jetliner showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a social media post.
Some of those aboard were thought to be travelling to a major United Nations environmental meeting scheduled to start Monday in Nairobi.
Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own @UN staff — who perished in this tragedy.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 10, 2019
With files from the Canadian Press and CBC News.