Boeing 737 Carrying Americans Crashes in Ethiopia, At Least 150 Dead

A plane crash in Africa on Sunday left no survivors, according to the Associated Press, including the American citizens on board.

The crash shocked the world Sunday with its tragically high death toll, now estimated at 157 people in total. As reports from the scene trickled in, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirmed that there were eight United States citizens on the flight. They have yet to be identified.

Victims of 31 other different nationalities were lost in the crash, which took place at around 8:45 a.m. local time. Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302/10 was heading from Addis Adaba, Bole International Airport to Nairobi, Kenya. It crashed near Bishoftu — also known as Debre Zeit — according to a release by the airline.

The victims consisted of 149 passengers and eight crew members of the flight. So far, there is no word on why the aircraft might have gone down. The weather along the flight path was clear. Before losing contact, the pilot sent out a distress call and was given permission to return to the airport, but they never made it.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to Ethiopia to assist in investigating the crash. Boeing, the manufacturer of the 737-8 MAX Jetliner, told reporters that it is read to provide assistance as well if the N.T.S.B. requests it.

Reporters learned that this particular plane was relatively new. It was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in November. Air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 noted unstable vertical speed after takeoff, and the plane crashed six minutes later. It was 31 miles south of Addis Ababa.

This was the same model Boeing 737-8 MAX Jetliner that crashed in the Java Sea back in October. At the time, the Lion Air jet had a persistent malfunction with its airspeed indicator. That crash killed 189 people.

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Ethiopian Airlines is widely considered the best-managed carrier in Africa, the AP reports. The state-owned company has ambitious plans to expand its customer base, and is known to buy new aircraft as early as possible. The crash comes just as Ethiopia's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has reportedly been pushing to open up airlines to foreign investment, along with other sectors.

Ethiopian Airlines has contacted the families of the victims on board the flight. Updates continue on social media.