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.
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed early on Sunday, killing 149 passengers and eight crew, the airline said, the same model that crashed during a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October.
Several airlines have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster. Here is the latest list of nationalities as released by the airline.
"Data from Flightradar24 ADS-B network show that vertical speed was unstable after take off", the Swedish-based flight tracking organization said on its Twitter feed.
It also was a serious blow to Ethiopian Airlines, which has expanded to become the continent's largest and best-managed carrier and turned Addis Ababa into the gateway to Africa.
Weeping relatives begged for information at airports in Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
In December 2018, CNBC expected Africa to remain the weakest airline region in the world for 2019, where it has been ranked for the past four years. They included 32 Kenyans and nine Ethiopians.
Image caption The crash site is around 60km south-east of the Ethiopian capital
Ethiopian Airlines said its CEO "expresses his profound sympathy and condolences to the families and loves ones of passengers and crew who lost their lives in this tragic accident". Several countries lost more than five citizens.
The airline has a good reputation for safety. ET-AVJ had over 1,000 hours with the airline since delivery.
It said it would issue further notices after consulting with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing.
The last fatal Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane crash was in 2010 when all 90 on board were killed when the aircraft crashed minutes after take-off from Beirut.
New Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been promising to open up the state-owned airline to domestic and global investors.
The plane ploughed into a field some 60 kilometres east of Addis Ababa - just six minutes after taking off.
Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.More news: 'Just escaped': Cricket team caught up in Christchurch Mosque shooting
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