At least a dozen UN-affiliated personnel killed in Ethiopian crash
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At least a dozen UN-affiliated personnel killed in Ethiopian crash

Exact number of United Nations personnel on flight is unclear, as not all had informed officials of their travel plans, and not all were using their agency passports

Rescue team walk past collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019. (Michael TEWELDE/AFP)
Rescue team walk past collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019. (Michael TEWELDE/AFP)

At least a dozen people affiliated with the United Nations were among those killed in the crash Sunday of an Ethiopian Airlines aircraft near Addis Ababa, a UN source said.

“It is expected that at least a dozen of the victims were affiliated with the UN,” the source said, adding that freelance interpreters traveling to a UN conference on the environment may also be among the dead.

Authorities said 157 people were killed when the Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on a flight to Nairobi, where the UN conference was being held. Two Israelis were among the dead in the crash.

Establishing the exact number of UN personnel on the flight was complicated by the fact that some had informed the United Nations of their travel plans while others had not, and not all were using their UN passports to travel, the source said.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply saddened at the tragic loss of lives.”

“He conveys his heartfelt sympathies and solidarity to the victims’ families and loved ones, including those of United Nations staff members, as well as sincere condolences to the government and people of Ethiopia,” the statement said.

“The United Nations is in contact with the Ethiopian authorities and working closely with them to establish the details of United Nations personnel who lost their lives in this tragedy.”

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