Nairobi, 10 March 2019: Ethiopian airline Boeing 737 Max -8 en route to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport crash, and all the passengers on board confirmed dead. The flight lost contact at 08:44 a.m. local time Sunday morning, six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital, and went down near Bishoftu.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the crash of the Boeing 737 Max-8 plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November, records show.
The pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all clear to return, according to the airline's chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam.
Senior captain Yared Getachew had a "commendable performance" has completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.
The plane had flown from Johannesburg to Addis earlier on Sunday morning, and had undergone "rigorous" testing on February 4, a statement continued.
Witnesses said there was an intense fire as the aircraft hit the ground.
"The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it," said eye witness close to the scene of the crash.
"Everything is burnt down. There are four helicopters at the scene now." said another eye witness,
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed earlier announced the crash as he offered his "deepest condolences" to families on Twitter on Sunday morning.
The PM's office tweeted: "The office of the PM, on behalf of the government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express its deepest condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on a regularly scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning."
According to the latest update, there 32 Kenyan, 18 Canadian, 9 Ethiopian, 8 Chinese, 8 Italian, 8 American, 7 France, 7 British, 6 Egyptian, 5 Germany. 4 Indian, 4 Slovakian, 3 Austrian, 3 Russian, 3 Swedish, 2 Spanish, 2 Israelites, 2 Moroccan, 2 Polish, 1 Belgian, 1 Djiboutian, 1 Indonesian, 1 Irish, 1 Mozambique, 1 Norwegian, 1 Rwandan, 1 Saudi, 1 Sudanese, 1 Somali, 1 Serbian, 1 Togolese, 1 Ugandan and 1 Yemen among the dead but the figure can change any time as the details continue to emerge.