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Wednesday June 26th, 2019 6:13PM

The Latest: Italy identifies some plane crash victims

By The Associated Press
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The Latest on Ethiopian Airlines crash (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

The mayor of the northern Italian city of Bergamo says three members of a local humanitarian organization, Africa Tremila, were aboard the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed after takeoff, killing all aboard.

Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori said in a Facebook post that the president of the aid group, Carlo Spini, his wife and the treasurer, Matteo Ravasio, had been en route to South Sudan.

The foreign ministry says in all eight Italians were among the dead. They included the Sicilian regional assessor to the Culture Ministry, Sebastiano Tusa, according to the Sicilian regional president.

In a tweet, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said it was a day of pain for everyone: "We are united with the relatives of the victims and offer them our heartfelt thoughts."

___

6:40 p.m.

Ethiopian Airlines says Ethiopian authorities, manufacturer Boeing and other international stakeholders will collaborate on an investigation into the cause of Sunday morning's crash after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

A new statement by the airline also says families of the 157 victims have been contacted and that remains will be returned to them once identified.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. The new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane had been en route to Nairobi. Victims came from 35 countries.

___

6:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior German officials are sending Ethiopia their condolences following news of the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane destined for Nairobi.

Merkel's spokeswoman Martina Fietz said Sunday on Twitter that the chancellor expressed her "deeply felt condolences and sympathy for the relatives of the victims."

Authorities in Ethiopia said all 157 people on board were killed in the crash. Five Germans were among the victims, said authorities.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier likewise issued statements of condolence.

Maas said Germany's embassy in Addis Ababa was in close contact with Ethiopian authorities.

___

6:20 p.m.

As sunset approaches at the site of an Ethiopian Airlines crash, searchers and a bulldozer pick through the scattered remains of the plane.

No one survived the crash. Authorities say 157 people were on board, with 35 nationalities represented.

Red Cross and other personnel are scouring a vast area for remains and pieces of the plane, which disintegrated with no large segments remaining.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash. The jetliner, a new Boeing 737-8 MAX, showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a Twitter post.

___

5:35 p.m.

Ethiopian Airlines has issued a new list of crash victims that now includes German, Austrian, Russian, Swedish, Spanish, Israeli citizens and others.

The new list shows 35 nationalities among the dead after the plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi on Sunday morning. In all, 157 people were on board.

Five Germans were killed and three each from Russia, Austria and Sweden. Spain, Israel Morocco and Poland each lost two citizens.

Countries losing one citizen were Belgium, Djibouti, Indonesia, Ireland, Mozambique, Norway, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Serbia, Togo, Uganda, Yemen, Nepal and Nigeria.

___

5:15 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirms that two Israeli citizens were among the 157 people killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash outside Addis Ababa.

Netanyahu's office said he spoke with Israeli envoys who briefed him with details. Netanyahu says in a statement that "our hearts go out to their families."

More than 30 nationalities were among the victims.

Meanwhile, Slovakia's foreign ministry confirms authorities' earlier reports that four Slovak nationals were killed.

And a Dutch foreign ministry spokeswoman says embassy staff are working to confirm that five citizens from the Netherlands are among the dead.

___

5:10 p.m.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning likely was carrying people set to attend a major United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi.

Authorities have said more than 30 nationalities were among the dead.

The U.N. Environment Assembly is set to begin on Monday in Kenya's capital, where the plane was headed.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are among those expected. U.N. Environment has said more than 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders and others would attend.

___

4:50 p.m.

Ethiopia's prime minister has visited the site of an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people thought to be on board.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's office says he expressed his "profound sadness" and ordered a full investigation and "all required support" to the families of the dead.

More than 30 nationalities were among the victims.

The plane en route to Nairobi crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa. The cause of the crash of the new Boeing 737-8 MAX is not yet known.

Images from the crash site show little left of the plane.

___

4:20 p.m.

The new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning was one of 30 purchased and being delivered to the rapidly expanding airline.

A Boeing statement in July noted the delivery of the first plane.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO says the plane that crashed with 157 people thought to be on board had been delivered in mid-November.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash just six minutes after takeoff en route to Nairobi. The CEO says the pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return.

___

3:30 p.m.

The Ethiopian Airlines CEO and Kenya's transport minister say Canadians, Chinese, Americans and others are among the many nationalities among the victims of Sunday morning's deadly plane crash after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

Authorities earlier said 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians were killed. Now they add 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia.

The airline has said 157 people were thought to be on board.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash of new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane shortly after takeoff from Bole Airport en route to Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

___

2:45 p.m.

Ethiopian Airlines has published a photo that appears to show its CEO standing amid the wreckage of the plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

Little of the plane can be seen in the freshly churned earth.

The airline's social media post says that "Tewolde Gebremariam, who is at the accident scene now, regrets to confirm that there are no survivors. He expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident."

The airline has said 157 people — 149 passengers and 8 crew — are thought to have been on board the flight that crashed six minutes after takeoff en route to Nairobi.

It is not yet clear what caused the crash.

___

1:50 p.m.

A spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines says the among the dead in the crash Sunday are 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians. Asrat Begashaw said that 31 other nationalities were also among those on board the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane that crashed, killing all the 157 people thought to be on the flight.

1:35 p.m.

Ethiopia's state broadcaster says all passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa are dead.

The airline has said 157 people were thought to be on board the flight to Nairobi on Sunday morning.

Broadcaster EBC says the passengers included 33 nationalities.

The cause of the crash of the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane is not immediately known.

___

1:10 p.m.

Records show that the Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi was a new one.

The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane, a Boeing 737-8 MAX, was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.

The Ethiopian Airlines' statement says the 737-8 MAX crashed six minutes after takeoff, with 157 people thought to be on board.

The cause of the crash is not immediately known.

___

11:45 a.m.

Ethiopian Airlines says it believes 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board a plane that crashed six minutes after taking off from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, on a flight to Nairobi.

A statement from the airline on Sunday morning said the Boeing 737 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, shortly after taking off at 8:38 a.m. local time.

The airline statement said "search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties."

The Ethiopian prime minister's office in a separate, earlier statement offered condolences to families.

___

11:33 a.m.

The Ethiopian prime minister's office says an Ethiopian Airlines plane has crashed on its way to Nairobi, with deaths reported.

The office issued a statement Sunday morning saying the Boeing 737 was on a regularly scheduled flight when it crashed. The statement gave no details.

A spokesman for the airline confirmed the plane crashed while heading from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It is not yet clear where the crash occurred. The airline has not issued a statement.

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.

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