Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane crashes en route to Kenya

FILE PHOTO: Workers service an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane at the Bole International Airport in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

An Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane from Addis Ababa headed to Nairobi, Kenya has crashed.

A statement from Ethiopian Airlines indicates the flight had 149 passengers on board as well as eight crew members.

“It I believed that there were 149 passengers and 8 crew members on board the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight,” reads a statement from Ethiopian Airlines.

The Boeing 737 Max aircraft took off at 8:38am before losing contact with the tower at Bole International Airport  at 8:44am

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was the first to break the news sending a condolence message to the families and friends who may have lost loved ones.

“The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express its 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,” Ahmed said on his official Twitter page.

The Ethiopian government has kicked off a search and rescue mission around Bishoftu, where the plane is believed to have gone down.

“We have no confirmed reports about survivors or any possible casualties. Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” the airline said.

More to follow…..