Crashed Ethiopian plane had at least 19 UN officials on board
The United Nations had at least 19 officials on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday morning, some of whom were en route to a major environmental conference in Nairobi, Kenya. No one on board survived.
The World Food Program, the UN Refugee Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization were among UN agencies reporting personnel losses. The casualty list also included a professor, the CEO of a restaurant company and a Kenyan soccer official.
French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are among those expected to attend the UN Environment Assembly, set to begin Monday, along with more than 4,700 heads of state, ministers and executives. Outcomes from the meeting are to set the global environmental agenda and boost chances of success in the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda, according to a UN press release.
The meeting will go on as scheduled, said Laurent Gallissot, Secretary General of One Planet Summit.
The Boeing 737 Max jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, marking the second deadly accident in five months for the new version of the company’s best-selling aircraft. The passenger list included 32 Kenyans and 18 Canadians, the largest two groups by nationality. There were at least eight Americans on the flight, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The crash comes as “devastating news,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet, and in a later statement said the nation was offering consular assistance and working with Ethiopian authorities.
Macron extended his condolences to the families of the victims, which the airline said included seven French nationals.
Also on the ill-fated flight were a regional assessor to the Italian Culture Ministry; the wife, son and daughter of a lawmaker from Slovakia; and a residential minister at Georgetown University.
Authorities in China grounded the country’s entire fleet of 737 Max 8 planes, while Cayman Airways, the flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, and Ethiopian Airlines suspended operations of all of their Max 8 aircraft.
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