An Ethiopian Airlines flight with 157 people thought to be on board crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning from Ethiopia's capital while headed to Nairobi, the airline said. Ethiopia's state broadcaster says all passengers are dead, reports the AP. There were no immediate details on what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November. The BBC reports 737-8 MAX planes have been flying since 2016. Boeing tweeted that it is "closely monitoring the situation." The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.
The airline's statement said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the plane that crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya's capital. The crash occurred around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44am. The AP reports another Boeing 737-8 MAX plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, in October, killing all 189 people on board. The cockpit data recorder showed that the jet's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights, though Lion Air initially claimed that problems with the aircraft had been fixed. The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut killing all 90 people on board.
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