Latest: All passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa are dead, the airline has confirmed.
The company has said 157 people were on board the flight to Nairobi in Kenya, including one Irish citizen.
The spokesperson confirmed the fatalities following a visit of the airline's CEO to the scene of the accident.
Passengers from over 30 countries were on the flight.
The cause of the crash of the new Boeing 737-8 MAX plane was not immediately known.
The plane had showed unstable vertical speed after take-off, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said in a Twitter post. Visibility was clear.
State-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions to become the gateway to the continent.
The crash occurred around 31 miles south of the capital, shortly after taking off, the airline said.
A statement by the Ethiopian prime minister's office offered its "deepest condolences" to families.
The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning.— Office of the Prime Minister - Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) March 10, 2019
The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after take-off from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board.
Today's crash comes as the country's reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centred economy.
Authorities said other victims include 18 Canadians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from the Netherlands and four each from India and Slovakia. Spain’s foreign ministry said two Spanish nationals were on the passenger list.
The pilot was a senior one, joining the airline in 2010, he said.
The Boeing 737-8 MAX was one of 30 being delivered to the airline, Boeing said in a statement in July when the first was delivered.
In a statement, Boeing said it was “deeply saddened” to hear of the crash and that a technical team was ready to provide assistance at the request of the US National Transportation Safety Board.
Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.
Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu - where Sunday's crash occurred.
Records show that the Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane that crashed was a new one.
The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane was delivered to the airline in mid-November.
"My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," said Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta.
An Ethiopian Airlines flight has crashed on its way to Nairobi, with deaths being reported, the Ethiopian prime minister's office said.
It is understood that there were 149 passengers and 8 crew on board the flight.
The flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in "an accident" around Bishoftu today, a spokesperson for Ethiopian Airlines said.
The aircraft took off at 08:38am local time from Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 08:44am.
Search and rescue operations are in progress the airline could not confirm any information about survivors or any possible causalities.
PA & Digital Desk