The pilot of a Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 that crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, had alerted controllers “he had difficulties” and wanted to turn back the plane carrying 157 people, the head of Ethiopian Airlines said.
The pilot “was given clearance” to return to Addis, Chief Executive Officer Tewolde GebreMariam told journalists in the Ethiopian capital when asked whether there had been a distress call.
The crash which has claimed the lives of the over 157 persons on board from over 33 countries, came on the eve of a major, annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme opening in Nairobi.
The plane had taken off at 8:38 am (0538 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa by road.
It came down near the village of Tulu Fara outside Bishoftu.
Below is a list of the number victims and their countries. The count, however, is not final.
United States 8
Saudi Arabia 1
UN passport 1