An Ethiopian Airlines flight en route to Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, carrying an estimated 149 passengers and eight crew crashed on Sunday, the airline said in a statement.
A statement from the airline on Sunday morning said the Boeing 737 took off at 8:38 am (0638 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa.
“We hereby confirm that our scheduled flight ET 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in accident today,” the airline said in a statement.
“Rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities,” the airline said. The airline said it is still confirming details of the passenger list for the flight.
A Swedish flight-tracking website, Flightradar24, reported that “the vertical speed was unstable after take-off”.
The office of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a statement Sunday morning and offered condolences to families.
“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 regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a Twitter post.
The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut killing all 90 people on board.