Several UN staff among the victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash
The United Nations is in mourning after it losing 19 staff members in the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people on Sunday.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives” , as reports emerged that UN staff were also among the dead.
Some of the victims were believed to be travelling to an important environmental meeting taking place in Nairobi, Kenya, this week.
High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said UNHCR had lost two of its staff members in the crash. There were also seven representatives of the World Food Programme and six staff members from the U.N. office in Nairobi.
Authorities confirmed that the plane was carrying passengers from more than 30 countries.
Ethiopian Airlines told journalists they included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians, eight Italians, eight Chinese citizens, eight Americans, seven British citizens, seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Dutch citizens, four Indians, four people from Slovakia, three Austrians, three Swedes, three Russians, two Moroccans, two Spaniards, two Poles and two Israelis.
Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda and Yemen each had one citizen onboard.
Investigators have now confirmed that they found the flight data recorders – cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder – from the aircraft that crashed on Sunday.
The cause of the disaster is not yet clear. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines said.
In the meantime, China and Indonesia grounded their fleets of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft on Monday. The disaster came five months after a Lion Air jet of the same model came down in Indonesia, killing 189 people, and prompted a global aviation safety scare.