The government has set up two emergency centres at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where families can get information on their loved ones who were on the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi which crashed, killing all 157 people on board. The Boeing 737 crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport. The airline’s Spokesman said that there were 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board. Flight tracking records show it took off at 8:38 am and was scheduled to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Nairobi at 10:25 am.
Speaking at JKIA, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia stated that the government was determined to ensure the affected families are accorded adequate privacy and support. “At this stage, what we have done, is to establish two emergency centres, one in what we call Terminal 1 D whereby we shall be meeting the relatives and friends who were to meet the passengers upon arrival,” he said. “Upon arrival at T1 D, those relatives and friends will be directed to the second emergency centre which has been set up at the Sheraton Four points.”
Macharia said the government does not have sufficient information on those on board so far and are waiting for a manifest from Ethiopian authorities. “We have activated the emergency responses here at JKIA and we are waiting for that additional information. At this point, what is critically important is to ensure that those families and friends of those on board are accorded the highest level of privacy as we wait for more information,” he said.
Earlier, the friends and families of passengers thought to be on the ill-fated flight ET 302 were waiting for their loved ones, some hoping they may not have been on board. Peter Kimani, who had a sister on board, said that he is still hopeful for the best. “I am expecting our loved one from Addis Ababa, she was supposed to arrive at about 10:15 to 10:20 am from the time she talked to us. At some time, we received news that there is a plane that had crashed. Hopefully we were hoping that she was not in that plane, but we are hoping for the best,” he stated.
Hanna, a Chinese national stated that she has been waiting for her colleague who was on board the ill-fated aircraft since 10 am. “I got this news from my colleague because I responded to pick up my colleague at the airport, but after three hours, I did not see anybody from Ethiopia, so I am little bit panicked,” she said. Khalid Ali Abdulrahaman was waiting for his son who fortunately did not board the flight due to a delay, which he thanks for saving his life.
“I came here to pick up my son who was flying in today from Ethiopia. When I arrived at the airport, somebody from the Airports Authority asked me which flight I was waiting for and when I told him one from Ethiopia, he told me that it has crashed,” he explained. “Fortunately, my son contacted me and told me that he was still in Addis Ababa. He said that his flight has been delayed.”