[Ethiopia], Mar 10 (ANI): The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 that crashed on Sunday morning had noted technical difficulties and asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa, said Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of the airlines.
However, CNN quoted GebreMariam, while addressing a press conference at Ethiopian Airlines headquarters in the afternoon, stating that a routine maintenance check of the flight before its departure did not reveal any technical problems.
"As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time,” GebreMariam said.
In addition, a senior Ethiopian Airlines pilot with "an excellent flying record" was also on-board, the CEO added.
The CEO went on saying that the plane with 157 on-board “is now right inside the ground” and it is possible to identify whether it was an emergency landing or a crash.
"It is too early to speculate the cause of the accident and further investigation will be carried out to find out the cause of the accident in collaboration with all stakeholders including the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and other international entities to maintain the international standard and information will be provided once the cause is identified. Ethiopian Airlines will provide all the necessary support to the families of the victims," GebreMariam said.
The CEO who visited the accident site after hearing the news of the plane crash informed that smoke was still rising from the ground.
In all, 157 passengers including eight crew members were killed in the crash. The deceased passengers were of 35 nationalities and four of them were Indians.
The Embassy of the United States of America in Adis Ababa has confirmed the Americans who were killed onboard and extended condolences.
The National Transportation Safety Board, independent US investigative agency, will be sending a team of four members to assist the investigation of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines, which killed everyone onboard.
The Embassy took to Twitter, saying, "We understand that there were American citizens on board the aircraft and are working to determine their identities. We are in contact with the Government of Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines to offer all possible assistance."
The plane Boeing 737 had 149 passengers and eight crew members on board. The victims were of 35 nationalities.
The Boeing 737 took off from Bole International Airport at 8:38 am after which no contact was established with the flight after 8:44 am. (ANI)