(INDEPENDENT) — Everyone on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed on the way to Nairobi has died, a spokesman for the airline has announced.

“There are no survivors onboard the flight, which carried passengers from 33 countries,” said state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, quoting an unidentified source at the airline.

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 aircraft is believed to be the same model of plane which crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189. It is the latest version of the 737 family, the world’s best selling modern passenger aircraft and one of the industry’s most reliable.

Ethiopian Airlines said the flight lost contact with the control tower at 8.44am local time, just six minutes after take-off, and suffered an “accident” near the town of Bishoftu, which is around 30 miles from Bole airport.

People waiting at Nairobi airport had no information from airport authorities.

“We’re just waiting for my mum. We’re just hoping she took a different flight or was delayed. She’s not picking up her phone,” said Wendy Otieno, clutching her phone and weeping.

The Ethiopian prime minister’s office offered its “deepest condolences” to families affected by the incident in a statement. State-owned Ethiopian Airlines is one of the biggest carriers on the continent by fleet size. It said previously that it expected to carry 10.6 million passengers last year.

“Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

The crash comes as the country’s reformist 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.


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