Seven Britons and one passenger from Ireland among 157 dead in Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

Seven British passengers and one from Ireland were among 157 people killed when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just after take-off.

They were among 149 passengers and eight crew members who were thought to have been on board the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane when it hit the ground six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on Sunday morning.

The plane, which was destined for Nairobi, crashed at about 8.45am, leaving no survivors.

The Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people thought to be on board(Picture: AP/Mulugeta Ayene)

Kenya’s transport secretary James Macharia told reporters that he could confirm there were nationals from at least 35 different countries on board, including seven passengers from the UK.

Ethiopian Airlines told a press conference that an Irish citizen was also on board the flight.

Many of the passengers were from Kenya, but others were said to be from Italy, France, the US, Egypt, the Netherlands, Slovakia and India.

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The cause of the crash was not yet known. According to the airline’s chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam, who visited the scene of the crash, the pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all clear to return.

An eyewitness told the BBC there was an intense fire when the plane crashed.

The plane crashed just six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa (Picture: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

“The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn’t get near it,” he said. “Everything is burnt down. There are four helicopters at the scene now.”

A statement from Boeing said the manufacturer was “deeply saddened” to learn of the disaster, adding: “We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team.”