Heartbroken Colleagues Mourn Ethiopian Airlines Pilot who Feared Something Was Wrong and Gave Distress Call to Turn Around Seconds Before Plane Crashed Killing all 157 Passengers

Tearful colleagues have paid tribute to the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet which crashed killing all 157 on board.

Senior Captain Yared Getachew, who was a dual Ethiopian-Kenyan national, was the main pilot on flight 302 which came down minutes after take off from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning.

Airline chief Tewolde GebreMariam said Mr Getachew had flown more than 8,000 hours and had an ‘excellent flying record’.

The senior pilot issued a distress call shortly after departure and was told to return but all contact was lost shortly afterward. The plane then ploughed into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu.

There were scenes of agony as members of an association of Ethiopian airline pilots cried uncontrollably for colleagues killed in Sunday’s crash near Addis Ababa.

Framed photographs of seven crew members sit in chairs at the front of a crowded room.

One pilot says he had planned to watch a soccer game between Manchester and Arsenal with the flight’s main pilot, Yared Getachew.

It was Getachew who issued a distress call shortly after takeoff and was told to return. But all contact was lost.

Yared Mulugeta Getachew (pictured) was the main pilot on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302
Tearful colleagues have paid tribute to the pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet which crashed killing all 157 on board. Pictured: Mourners attend a memorial service held by an association of Ethiopian airline pilots today
Senior Captain Yared Getachew, who was a dual Ethiopian-Kenyan national, was the main pilot on flight 302 which came down minutes after take off from Addis Ababa on Sunday morning. Pictures of crew members were rested on chairs as loved-ones gathered for a service in Addis Ababa
Families and friends wept as they gathered in Addis Ababa to remember crew members killed in the disaster

Another pilot says he flew with Yared several times and said they even lived together before becoming senior pilots.

According to the BBC, Mr Getachew had been working for Ethiopian Airlines since November 2007.

His friend Hassan Katende, said his ‘hair just stood up’ when he heard that he had died in the crash.

Mr Katende said he learned of the disaster through social media.

‘I can’t sleep. It’s shocking. It’s very hard to believe. It’s really unbelievable,’ he said.

Investigators seeking to find the cause of the crash discovered the black box with both the cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data on Monday, Ethiopian state TV said.

Mourners attend a memorial service held by an association of Ethiopian airline pilots today
Heartbroken friends and relatives lay flowers as pictures of crew killed in the crash were placed on chairs


At the crash site, men in Red Cross jackets and face masks picked through a large crater, bagging body parts and items like clothing, boarding passes, serviettes and other personal effects.

The dead included aid workers, doctors, professors of literature and botany, a law student, a newly-wed woman, a father soon expecting a child, and a couple who recently had a baby.

In Nairobi, a major hub for aid workers and diplomats in Africa, a summit opened with a moment of silence and tears for the U.N. members killed.

‘It is one of the biggest catastrophes we have had in years,’ said Michael Moller, U.N. head in Geneva.

US plane maker Boeing is facing questions over the safety of one of its key aircraft models after an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed killing 157 – the second disaster involving a 737 MAX 8 in just five months. Pictured: The crash scene today
Pictures have emerged showing the scale of the crash site from above. Diggers have been excavating the site in a bid to locate bodies
The ‘brand new’ Boeing 737 MAX 8 took off from Bole International Airport and reached an altitude of 8,600ft before coming crashing down 37 miles from Addis Ababa

The airplane was received in November 2018, had flown more than 1,200 hours, and returned from Johannesburg earlier on Sunday, Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam said.

The flight had unstable vertical speed after take-off, the flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted.

The Sweden-based service said the aircraft had climbed almost 1,000 feet after taking off from Addis Ababa, a hot and high-altitude airport whose thinner air requires extra effort from an aircraft’s engines.

It dipped about 450 feet before rapidly climbing another 900 feet until the point where satellite tracking data was lost.

The airplane was received in November 2018, had flown more than 1,200 hours, and returned from Johannesburg earlier on Sunday, Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam said.

The flight had unstable vertical speed after take-off, the flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted.

The Sweden-based service said the aircraft had climbed almost 1,000 feet after taking off from Addis Ababa, a hot and high-altitude airport whose thinner air requires extra effort from an aircraft’s engines.

It dipped about 450 feet before rapidly climbing another 900 feet until the point where satellite tracking data was lost.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, by Julian Robinson