UN chief says 21 staff killed in Ethiopia air crash


At least 21 UN employees were killed yesterday when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday.

“A global tragedy has hit close to home — and the United Nations is united in grief,” Guterres said at the UN’s New York headquarters.

All 157 people on board Ethiopian Airlines flight ET-302 were killed when it crashed shortly after departing Ethiopia’s capital Sunday morning.

“Our fallen colleagues were women and men — junior professionals and seasoned officials — hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise,” Guterres said. “They all had one thing in common — a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all.”

Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its Boeing-737-8 Max fleet “until further notice” following the crash.

“Although we don’t yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as an extra safety precaution,” the airline said.

CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the plane was received last November and had faced no technical problems before the deadly crash.