Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes, 157 people feared dead
An Ethiopian Airlines plane en route to Nairobi crashed with 149 passengers and eight crew onboard, the airline said.
All on board are reported to have been killed.
The Boeing 737 is believed to have crashed six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, according to local reports.
According to a statement from the airline, the flight took off at 8.38am and lost contact six minutes later, crashing near the city of Bishoftu less than 40 miles to the southeast of Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed offered condolences to the families of those who had been lost.
The airline said the plane was a Boeing 737 800 Max, the same model aircraft involved in the Indonesian Lion Air crash in October in which the plane plunged into the sea shortly after take-off, with 189 people killed.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister's official Twitter account has expressed condolences to families of those lost.
The PM's office wrote on Twitter: "The office of the PM, on behalf of government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it's deepest condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning."
Some flights out of Addis Ababa were delayed or cancelled on Sunday morning, it has been reported.
Ethiopian Airlines announced the acquisition of the brand new Max aircraft in July.
The Max model is the newest version of Boeing’s workhorse 737 model, the world’s most popular commercial airline.
Following the crash of Lion Air flight 610 in Indonesia, Boeing issued an emergency notice that an erroneous sensor input could “cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane,” leading to “possible impact with terrain.”
This model plan lacks a common override feature that allows pilots to reliably pull planes out of nose dives, reports the Washington Post.
A statement from Ethiopian Airlines said: "Ethiopian Airlines regrets to confirm that its flight ET 302/10 March in schedule service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident today around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit).
"The aircraft took off at 8.38am from Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 8.44am.
"At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties.
"Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services."
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.
They have over 100 aircraft in their fleet, including a handful of newly delivered Boeing 737 MAX 8s.
Boeing have yet to comment.