The UN Department of Safety and Security in Kenya has said that 19 UN staff were killed in the horrific crash. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives”. The tragedy happened the day before the UN Environment Assembly when Heads of States, environment ministers and thousands of others meet for five days in Nairobi so staff from the organisation were travelling to the event.
The Boeing plane took off at 8:44am local time from Addis Ababa and just six minutes later crashed.
The plane was carrying 149 passengers from more than 35 different countries and all of them were killed.
Mr Guterres tweeted: “Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims — including our own @UN staff — who perished in this tragedy.”
The UN Secretary General has said the UN is in contact with the Ethiopian authorities and are “working closely with them to establish the details of United Nations personnel who lost their lives in this tragedy”.
The first British victim of the plane crash has been named as Joanna Toole, who was working for the UN.
Michael Ryan from Ireland was also on board the flight, he was working as an engineer for the World Food Programme.
There has been speculation over what could have caused the disaster, which includes engine problems, pilot error, weight load or bird strikes.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister has declared a day of mourning tomorrow following the disaster.
The Foreign Office confirmed that at least seven Britons were on board flight ET302, which crashed in Ethiopia at about 8.45am local time.
Ethiopian Airlines said it had contacted the families of all victims.