Ethiopian Airlines plane with 157 people on board crashes minutes after take-off

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An Ethiopian Boeing 737 flight leaves the hanger in Nairobi on January 26, 2010.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed this morning shortly after take off, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board.

Wreckage lies at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after takeoff at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50km south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia on Sunday.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs conveyed its condolences to Ethiopia.

"We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on board and stand ready to support the Ethiopian Airlines team". My prayers and thoughts are with the families and friends of the 149 passengers and crew on board.

The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the plane, a Boeing 737-8 MAX, was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.

Authorities said 157 people were killed when the Boeing 737 crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on a flight to Nairobi, where the United Nations conference was being held.

There was no immediate information on what might have caused the crash.

"I am reaching out to President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed to express my condolences for this tragic event".

Ethiopian Airlines, which calls itself Africa's largest airline, have said they are sending staff to the crash site to help with the ongoing investigation and search mission.

The Boeing jetliner is relatively new, entering into service at both airlines in 2017 and flying routes for Air Canada that include Vancouver to Montreal and Calgary to Vancouver.

It said operation of the model will only resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety", the administration said in a statement.

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