President Yoweri Museveni has sent out condolences to those affected by the plane crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737, which plunged into the ground on Sunday morning, shortly after take-off in Addis Ababa.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800MAX, one of the latest additions on the airline’s fleet was heading to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, when it plummeted, and killed all 157 people on board.
President Museveni in his condolence message said he was sending prayers to those affected by the crash.
“I have, with sadness, received news about the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines flight which was destined for Nairobi from Addis Ababa,” he said.
“On Uganda’s behalf, I send heartfelt prayers and condolences to all those affected by this tragedy.”
According to reports, at least 33 nationalities were on board Flight ET 302, which crashed near the town of Bishoftu, about 50km southeast of the Ethiopian capital.
32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 8 Chinese, eight Americans, and seven British citizens are among the dead, according to Ethiopian Airlines. Four of the victims held United Nations passports.
Meanwhile fresh details that could help provide initial clues to the cause of the crash have emerged.
According to data retrieved from the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS–B) — a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked — indicated that the aircraft’s vertical speed (the rate of climb or descent) was too unstable, during its 6 minutes of flight.
The data provided by flight tracking website, FlightRadar 24 shows that the plane pitched up and down rapidly shortly after take-off.
The data shows the aircraft initially climbed at 128ft per minute, before levelling up and then shooting up at 1280ft per sec, and then 2368ft per minute in a matter of seconds.
It then levelled off again and steadily resumed climb at about 1400ft per minute. All this happened within a minute.
In the second minute of the flight, the data shows that the plane started descending at around 1000ft per second and then pitched up again up to 2624ft per minute in the third minute.
Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement that aircraft lost contact at 8:44am, 6 minutes after take-off.
At a press conference, the airline CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said it was not possible from the crash scene yet to determine whether the pilots were attempting a crash landing.
“The aircraft was brand new, and didn’t require maintenance. We therefore cannot tell at this time the cause of the accident,” he said.
The aircraft was purchased in November 2017 from Boeing and had been in service for about four months.
In a statement, Boeing the plane maker said it was ready to support the airline with investigations into the crash.
“Our technical team is ready to provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of the US National Transportation Safety Board,” they said.
It should be remembered that The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.