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An Ethiopian Airlines flight carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members crashed early Sunday shortly after departing from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, en route to Nairobi, Kenya, the airline said. A spokesman for the airline told state television that there were no survivors.

The plane was identified by its manufacturer, Boeing, as one of its newest models, a 737 Max 8. The cause of the crash was unclear, but a Lion Air flight using the same model of plane went down in Indonesia in October, killing all 189 people onboard. Officials are investigating whether changes to the Max 8’s automatic controls might have sent that flight into an unrecoverable nose-dive.

The flight on Sunday took off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38 a.m. local time and lost contact six minutes later, the airline said. The plane is believed to have gone down near Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, the airline said in a statement.

The vertical speed of Flight 302 was unstable after takeoff, according to flight data published by FlightRadar24 on Twitter.

“I came to the airport to receive my brother but I have been told there is a problem,” said Agnes Muilu, at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, The Associated Press reported. “I just pray that he is safe or he was not on it.”

The flight was carrying passengers from 33 countries; a spokesman for Ethiopian Airlines said that the dead included 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians. The Global Times, a state-run Chinese newspaper, said that eight Chinese citizens were onboard.

The office of Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian prime minister, expressed condolences on Twitter, as did President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

The Kenyan transport secretary, James Macharia, said his country was setting up two emergency response centers to assist those who had friends and relatives on the flight.

https://www.nytimes.com/