By Ismaila Chaffe
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock over the Sunday plane crash involving an Ethiopian Airliner bound for Nairobi, Kenya, in which all the 149 passengers and eight crew members died.
The President also extended his sincere condolences to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, China and all other nations who lost citizens in the air disaster.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said in Abuja that the President commiserated with
the families of the victims and prayed God Almighty to grant the gentle souls of the departed eternal rest.
Buhari, who reacted to the accident in Daura, Katsina State on Sunday, said: “such large scale loss of human lives in a single incident is shocking beyond words.
“I am profoundly touched by this devastating report of air accident involving one of the world’s most successful and efficient Airlines.
“Given its remarkable safety record, this couldn’t have come at a worse time for Ethiopian Airlines.
“Like every other African leader, I am proud of the fact that Ethiopian Airlines represents one of Africa’s success stories.”
The President expressed the hope that the tragic accident would not have negative effect on Ethiopian Airlines’ passion for excellence.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members, took off at 08:38am (05:38 GMT) and
lost contact with air traffic controllers six minutes later.
It crashed near Bishoftu, southeast of the Ethiopian capital, Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash of the plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November.
The pilot, who had been working for the carrier since 2010, sent out a distress call shortly after take-off and was given clearance to return.
Tewolde Gebremariam, the airline’s CEO, visited the scene of the crash and confirmed no one had survived.
None of the 157 people on board the plane survived, the airline said. (NAN)