Grim-faced, visibly grief-stricken, some crying, hundreds of family members gathered Tuesday for a memorial service at the site where one year ago an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed into the rocky ground, killing all 157 on board.
The area of the disaster, about 40 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, the capital, was closed to the press as buses brought family of the victims to the commemoration, sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing, the maker of the jet.
“It was very chaotic and we were in distress,” Tsegaye Workineh, who said he was one of the first people to reach the crash site, told The Associated Press “It is a sight that I will never forget in my entire life. You’re lucky that you haven’t seen it. It was very shocking.”
Ethiopia Airlines' flight 302 took off from Addis Ababa airport on March 10, 2019. Pilots quickly reported problems. They struggled to control the plane, which crashed six minutes after takeoff, killing everyone on board. An interim report on the crash released one day before the anniversary said software designed to stop an aerodynamic stall activated four times as the pilots tried to control the jet.
The report made safety recommendations and gave clues about the cause of the crash, but an analysis won't be done until a final report expected later this year.
The Ethiopian Airlines crash came months after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia also killed everyone on board. The crash was also of the Boeing 737 Max jet. Both crashes eventually let to a grounding of all Boeing jets of that model around the world. The planes have not yet returned to service.