"At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities".
Under worldwide rules, responsibility for leading the crash investigation lies with Ethiopia but the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will also participate because the plane was designed and built in the United States.
The statement said that the flight took off at 8:38 a.m. local time from Addis Ababa.
The Ethiopian plane was delivered to the airline in November.
Both Addis Ababa and Nairobi are major hubs for humanitarian workers, and some had been on their way to a large United Nations environmental conference set to begin Monday in Nairobi.
Air traffic control lost contact with the Boeing 737-800MAX six minutes after taking off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, according to Ethiopian airlines. "She's not picking up her phone", said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.More news: Massachusetts Court Reinstates Aaron Hernandez' Murder Conviction
More news: 'Bomb Cyclone' Winter Storm Moving Across Central U.S.
More news: 10 dead, including 6 kids, in 'unspeakably brutal' Brazil shooting; 17 hurt
Addis Ababa - Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 bound for Nairobi crashed on Sunday left without survivors, all 149 passengers and 8 cabin crew on board confirmed dead.
The aircraft, a 737 MAX 8, is the same model that crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta on Oct 29, killing all 189 people on board the Lion Air flight. It has flown more than 1,200 hours.
"It is believed that there were 149 passengers and 8 crew onboard the flight but we are now confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight".
Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) operate a plant in the eastern city of Zhoushan that completes the interiors of 737 MAX planes for Chinese airlines.
In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration said it would join the National Transportation Safety Board in assisting Ethiopian authorities with the crash investigation. It also was a serious blow to state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, which has expanded to become the continent's largest and best-managed carrier and turned Addis Ababa into the gateway to Africa.
Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut went down shortly after take-off, killing all 90 people onboard.