Ethiopian Airlines crash: Relatives of Chinese victims leave for Addis Ababa
Updated 15:11, 12-Mar-2019
Sun Ye and Wang Xiying
02:07

The employers of the Chinese passengers aboard the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 have expressed shock and dismay at their tragic passing and bereaved family members left China for Addis Ababa.

Eight Chinese nationals, five men and three women, were among the 157 people aboard the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner that went down minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

The crash killed all that on board the jetliner.

Among the Chinese passengers are 32 year-old Jin Yetao from the Aviation Industry of China International (AVIC INTL) and 37-year-old Zhou Yuan with China Electronic Technology Group Corporation (CETC).

The companies told CGTN on Monday that they are shocked and deeply saddened over their death.

Vice President of AVIC INTL Xiong Tao said at a press conference late Monday afternoon that Jin was working for the company in South Sudan, and had a career goal of bringing technology to Africa's younger generation.

He noted that Jin's wife was leaving later in the day for Addis Ababa.

File photo of Jin Yetao, who was among the eight Chinese passengers on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 that crashed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, March 10, 2019. /File photo provided by AVIC INTL

File photo of Jin Yetao, who was among the eight Chinese passengers on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 that crashed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board, March 10, 2019. /File photo provided by AVIC INTL

"Our hearts are broken by the news. But we believe it's our mission to continue his vision in the future and continue the work," a visibly distressed Xiong said.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of CETC's Labor Union Zhang Peng said in a phone interview with CGTN that Zhou Yuan, was heading for Nairobi from Beijing.

The company's emergency response team is already in Ethiopia and started to work with the Chinese diplomatic mission there, said Zhang, adding that Zhou's relatives are getting ready to travel to the Ethiopian capital.

"We still can't believe this happened. Zhou was so dear to us all," Zhang said. "We wish to turn the grief into solidarity, and continue to work as hard as Zhou did, including on the Belt and Road related projects."

China suspends operations of Boeing 737 Max 8

What caused the newly-purchased aircraft to crash is not yet known, but Sunday's accident is the second such fatal crash involving the same plane model in five months.

In November 2018, a Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashed 13 minutes after take-off, killing all 189 people on board.

China's Civil Aviation Authority on Monday ordered domestic airlines to ground all their Boeing 737 MAX 8s.

There are an estimated 96 such planes operating in China.

Editor In Chief of Chinese magazine Aerospace Knowledge Wang Yanan said that China's move, which was followed by similar announcements from Ethiopian Airlines and Cayman Airlines, is not an over-reaction.

"This has come from a high sense of responsibility for passengers. After all, the model has seen in a similar incident with similar conditions less than six months ago. One can't help but doubt whether there is a connection there," Wang said.

"But no conclusion could be drawn at this early stage," Wang added.