An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 has been confirmed to have crashed en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi with 149 passengers and eight crew believed to be on board.
Ethiopia’s prime minister has offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.
The plane took off at 8:38am (06:38 GMT) from Bole International Airport and “lost contact” six minutes later near Bishoftu, a town approximately 60km southeast of Addis Ababa by road.
Ethiopian Airlines said in a press release that it would send staff to the accident scene to “do everything possible to assist the emergency services.”
They are also establishing a passenger information centre with a dedicated telephone number for family and friends of people who may have been on the flight.
The British Foreign Office could not confirm if any passengers on the flight are British.
Chairman of the Kenya Tourist Federation Mohammed Hersi, Tweeted: “we learn with great sadness about the Ethiopian airline crash flight ET302 enroute to Nairobi from Addis . Let us have Ethiopian Airlines and all those board in our prayers.”
The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same model as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
This is the first major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane since 2010 when a Boeing 737-800 exploded after taking off from Lebanon, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.