Rwandan among the victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash

One Rwandan is among the 157 fatalities of yesterday morning’s Ethiopian Airways crash

The deceased, Jackson Musoni was among the 149 passengers and eight crew members who were onboard the Boeing 737 flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya.

This was confirmed to The New Times by his brother, Brian Kabanda in a telephone interview.

Musoni was among the four passengers holding United Nations passports who are believed to heading to an environmental Assembly summit which is scheduled to open Nairobi today.

Musoni was based in South Sudan where he worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was among delegates headed to Nairobi for a conference.

The father of two worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before he started working with the UN agency.

Tewolde Gebremariam, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO told a news conference on Sunday that passengers of more than 30 nationalities were on board the flight.

Other casualties include 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese, eight Americans, seven Britons, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians and four people from Slovakia.

Three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis were also on the flight.

There was also one passenger each from Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.

President Paul Kagame sent condolences to the families and loved ones of those that lost their lives in the unfortunate incident, through a tweet.

“Our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives on the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. We stand with Prime Minister Abiy and the people of Ethiopia. Our thoughts are with you,” the tweet read.

Rwandans eulogized the late Musoni and other passengers on social media.

The plane crashed in the town of Bishoftu, which is 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital.

The incident happened at 08:44 local time, six minutes after Boeing 737 took off.

By press time, the cause of the accident was not yet clear. However, it is said that the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, the airline said.

"At this stage, we cannot rule out anything," Gebremariam told reporters at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.

"We cannot also attribute the cause to anything because we will have to comply with the international regulation to wait for the investigation,” he added.

An eyewitness at the scene told the press that there was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.

"The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it. Everything is burnt down," witnesses at the scene told the press.

The 737 Max-8 aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having been launched in 2016 and was added to the Ethiopian Airlines fleet in July last year according to media reports.

Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" by the crash and offered to send a team to provide technical assistance.

Another plane of the same model was involved in a crash five months ago when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

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