Seven Britons and one Irish national have been confirmed among the dead after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after take off on Sunday (March 10).
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 had just taken off from capital Addis Ababa en route to Kenyan capital Nairobi when authorities lost contact with the Boeing 737-800 MAX aircraft.
All 157 people onboard, 149 passengers and eight crew, were killed. A search and rescue operation is under way but the airline has confirmed there were no survivors.
Among the dead, Ethiopian has confirmed, were seven Britons and one Irish national. The dead ranged across 35 different nationalities, the largest proportion being Kenyan.
“Ethiopian Airlines Group expresses its profound sorrow and deepest condolences to the families of the victims and their loved ones on the tragic plane accident,” said the airline in a statement issued on Sunday afternoon.
The airline’s group chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam travelled to the crash site on Sunday and was pictured assessing the wreckage personally.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "deeply saddened to hear of the devastating loss of life following the plane crash in Ethiopia", adding "thoughts are with the families and friends of the British citizens on board and all those affected by this tragic incident".
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has since paid tribute to Irish engineer Michael Ryan, who was killed in the crash. Varadkar said Ryan was doing "life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme".
The United Nations, meanwhile, has confirmed 19 members of staff from UN-affiliated organisations are believed to have been killed in the crash.
Among them, Sky News reports citing a UN director, was Joanna Toole from Exmouth who the organisation said was travelling to Nairobi to represent the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the UN Environment Assembly.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, we can confirm at least seven British nationals were onboard flight ET302.
“Our staff at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa are in touch with the relevant authorities in Ethiopia. We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and those affected by this tragic event.”
The airline turned its social media emblems black on Monday to mark the tragedy.