THE number of Brits killed on the crashed Ethiopian flight has been revised to nine – as airlines around the world ground the aircraft involved.
It was initially thought that seven Brits had been on board Flight ET302, which crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa with no survivors.
But the death toll has now been revised as at least nine Britons are revealed to have been among the 157 killed in the crash.
Questions are now being raised about the Boeing 737 Max 8 involved in the air disaster. It is the same model as the Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea off Indonesia last year, killing all 189 on board.
Ethiopia Airlines, whose new jetliner crashed shortly after take-off in clear weather on Sunday, says it has decided to ground its remaining four Boeing 737 Max 8s until further notice as “an extra safety precaution”.
An FCO spokeswoman said: “We can now sadly confirm at least nine British nationals were on board flight ET302.
“Our staff at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa are continuing to work with the relevant authorities in Ethiopia to obtain further information.
“We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and those affected by this tragic event.”
The plane carried 149 passengers from 35 countries and eight crew members.
Nine Brits were on the aircraft which came down just six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi.
The dead include eight Americans and Italians, 32 Kenyans, nine Ethiopians, eight Chinese, seven French, 18 Canadians, one Irish, six Egyptians, five from the Netherlands, and four from India and Slovakia.
Mr Gerbremariam said the pilot had an excellent flying record but reported difficulties and asked to turn back.
He added that the plane had no known technical problems.
The CEO said: “We received the aeroplane on November 15, 2018.
“It has flown more than 1,200 hours. It had flown from Johannesburg earlier this morning.
“The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and that he wanted to return.”
The aircraft is the same model that crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Oct 29, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight.
The cause of that crash is still under investigation.