Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 crashes with deaths reported

Ethiopian Airlines shared this image and said it showed CEO Tewolde Gebremariam at the crash site

As the East African country mourned the 157 victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that went down in clear weather shortly after takeoff Sunday, investigators found the jetliner's two flight recorders at the crash site outside the capital of Addis Ababa.

"We are now confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight", the airline said.

The aircraft B-737-800max with registration number ET-AVJ took off at 08:38am local time from Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 08:44am, according to statement by the airline. Cockpit data indicated that the plane's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its previous four flights.

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.

Safety experts cautioned against drawing too many comparisons between the two crashes until more is known.

The plane was a Boeing 737-800 MAX, the airline said.

Kenya lost 32 people, more than any country. GebreMariam said they have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

The crash shattered more than two years of relative calm in Africa, where travel had always been chaotic.

The airline has a good reputation for safety.

Image from BBC shoot-edit of the crash scene of the Ethiopian Airlines flight
Image caption The crash site is around 60km south-east of the Ethiopian capital

Reuters reports Chinese airlines have ninety-six 737 Max 8 jets in service across multiple airlines. Sunburned travelers and tour groups crowd the Addis Ababa airport's waiting areas, along with businessmen from China, Gulf nations and elsewhere.

Boeing said a technical team was ready to provide assistance at the request of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

"I have, with sadness, received news about the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines flight which was destined for Nairobi from Addis Ababa".

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.

Ethiopian officials declared Monday a day of mourning.

Ethiopian Airlines said it was organising search operations and setting up a passenger information centre.

The flight had unstable vertical speed after take off, the flight tracking website Flightradar24 tweeted. It has flown more than 1,200 hours.

Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu - where Sunday's crash occurred.

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