Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashes with 157 people onboard

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Addis Ababa: An Ethiopian Airlines flight, carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members, crashed on Sunday.

The crash came on the eve of a major assembly in Nairobi of the UN Environment Program, but that agency did not say whether any delegates were on the plane.

Garuda Indonesia has one Boeing 737 MAX 8 while Lion Air has 14 Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft, including the MAX 8 that crashed previous year.

The aircraft, flight number ET 302, went down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa. The plane was on its way to Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya.

AU Envoy Raila Odinga said, "My deeply felt condolences to the people of Ethiopia following the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane". Searchers could be seen loading black plastic bags into trucks.

"It is confirmed it happened 8.44am (local time)", the spokesman said.

According to Boeing's website, the company, as of January 31, had received 5,111 orders of Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft, and had delivered 350 to various airlines globally. It is the newest version of the world's most popular passenger airplane, first introduced in 1967. A similar model flown by Lion Air crashed off the coast of Indonesia in October, killing all 189 on board.

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Records show that the Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that crashed was a new one.

"As it is a fresh incident... we have not been able to determine the cause", Gebremariam said.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co is the biggest operator of the MAX 8, with 31 aircraft, followed by American Airlines Group Inc and Air Canada with 24 each. It was not yet clear at the time where the crash occurred. It was delivered to the airline last November. The pilot was a senior aviator, joining the airline in 2010, the airline said.

"The group CEO who is at the accident scene right now regrets to confirm that there are no survivors", Ethiopian Airlines wrote on Twitter.

"Ethiopian is Africa's biggest airline, and recently the airport in Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading gateway to sub-Saharan Africa", Peralta reports.

The investigation will be led by Ethiopian authorities co-ordinating with teams of experts from Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board.

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