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|Red Cross teams work through the debris of an Ethiopian Airlines plane which crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 on board AFP/Michael TEWELDE|
The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft “lost contact” six minutes after it took off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa on Sunday (Mar 10) and came down outside the town of Bishoftu, killing all 157 people on board.
A national day of mourning has been declared on Monday amid a stream of condolences for loved ones, many of whom gathered in tears at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
According to the flight manifest shared by Ethiopian Airlines' official Twitter account, the passengers and crew members who died came from 35 countries, including 32 Kenyans and 18 Canadians.
There were also eight Chinese, four Indian nationals, an Indonesian and one Nepali on board.
According to China's CCTV news, one of the Chinese passengers was Hong Kong resident Tsang Ching-ngai, who worked for the United Nations Environmental Programme. He was a programme officer in the Gender and Safeguards Unit, reported South China Morning Post, which also identified him as Victor Tsang Shing-nga.
The United Nations (UN) had confirmed that at least 19 people on the aircraft were UN-affiliated personnel, including those who worked for the International Organisation for Migration, the World Food Program (WFP), UN Refugee Agency, World Bank and the UN Environment Agency.
Many were headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opens in Nairobi on Monday with about 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives.
The four Indian passengers were identified as Vaidya Pannagesh Bhaskar, Vaidya Hansin Annagesh, Nukavarapu Manisha and Shikha Garg, tweeted India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
She added that Shikha Garg was a consultant with India's ministry of environment and forests and was travelling to attend the United Nations Environment Programme.
The Indonesian woman, who lived in Italy, along with Nepali Ekta Adhikari, worked for the WFP, the BBC and The Himalayan Times reported respectively.
Other passengers on board the aircraft included those from Ethiopia, Italy, United States, France, the United Kingdom and Slovakia.
Slovak MP Anton Hrnko earlier wrote on Facebook that he had lost his wife, son and daughter in the crash.
"It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala, died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning," he said.
Ethiopian Airlines had expressed “profound sorrow and deepest condolences” to the families of victims and loved ones, it said in a statement.
A committee comprising Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and the Ethiopian Transport Authority has been set up to carry out investigations, it said in a separate statement.
The plane that went down on Sunday is the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The Boeing 737-800 MAX 8 aircraft which crashed on Sunday was new and delivered to state-owned Ethiopian Airways on Nov 15.