Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to victims of a plane crash that occured near Bishoftu, some 50km from Ethiopia's capital: Addis Ababa.
In his telegram, the Pope "offers prayers for the deceased from various countries", and sends his condolences to their families. He invokes "the divine belssing of consolation and strength" to all those who mourn.
The Kenya-bound Ethiopia Airlines plane had taken off from Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa Airport 6 minutes prior to the fatal crash, which took the lives of all 159 people on board.
Below please find the full text of the telegram sent by the Vatican Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin on behalf of Pope Francis:
Having learned with sadness of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, His Holiness Pope Francis offers prayers for the deceased from various countries and commends their souls to the mercy of Almighty God. Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences to their families, and upon all who mourn this tragic loss he invokes the divine blessings of consolation and strength.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State