All 157 passengers on crashed Ethiopian Airlines flight killed

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"Although we don't yet know the cause of the crash, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution", Ethiopian Airlines said. It turned its Twitter account imagery black after the announcement.

The U.N. office in Nairobi is joining Ethiopia in mourning the 157 dead in Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa.

"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". "My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board".

An eyewitness told the BBC there was an intense fire when the plane crashed.

"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.

The airline also said it would set up an information centre and provide a phone number for family and friends.

She said the Ottawa government was in "close contact" with Ethiopian authorities to gather more information.

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Sunday's crash, however, had "no fluctuations and all of the sudden transmission" ceased, he said.

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the continent's biggest carriers with ambitions to becoming the gateway to Africa. The airline's website was unavailable shortly after it released its statement.

The plane, with a crew of eight and 149 passengers, was headed to Nairobi, Kenya, when it crashed at 8:44 a.m. local time.

A total of 149 people were on board the aircraft.

In a rather odd move, the office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia has released a statement giving condolences to the families, despite the rescue operation ongoing.

The Lion Air Crash which killed all 189 people on board, is Indonesia's second-worst air disaster, after the 1997 Garuda Indonesia crash near Medan, which killed 234 people.