An Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane with 149 passengers and 8 crew members has crashed on flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.
The aircraft B-737-800MAX with registration number ET-AVJ crashed at around Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) area.
The Ethiopian Airlines in a statement said the aircraft lost contact just six minutes after leaving Bole International Airport.
“At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties,” the airline said.
It added it is still confirming details of the passenger list for the flight.
"Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services," the statement added.
The office Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed --the first to break the news -- sent condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones.
“The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express its deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on a regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning,” it said in a tweet.
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning. — Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “We are saddened by the news of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger aircraft that is reported to have crashed 6 minutes after take-off en route to Kenya. My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board”.
According to flight radar, the flight was expected at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 10:25 this morning.
The plane, according to aviation analyst Alex Macheras, said the brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8 was delivered to the airline just four months ago. Standard Digital has not independently verified the claim.
Ethiopian Airlines is state-owned and is Africa’s largest carrier.
In 2010 one of the company’s planes crashed in the Mediterranean Sea shortly after leaving Beirut, killing 90 people on board.
All 149 passengers and eight crew members believed to be on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed are dead, the airline spokesperson says.
There were people from 33 different nationalities on board.
An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman has said 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians were among the victims.
More to follow.