All 157 aboard, including 8 Americans, killed in plane crash over Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi crashes with 157 people on board

China is grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the country after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed Sunday morning, killing everyone on board, including eight Chinese nationals, according to reports.

Crash debris appeared to be spread across a large flat plain.

The Max mock-up is the newest version of Boeing's workhorse 737 models, the world's most popular commercial aircraft.

The jet showed unstable vertical speed after takeoff, air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said.

There was no immediate indication of what caused the crash and safety experts said it was too early to speculate, adding most accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors.

"Some of them, as you know, they are very distressed", he said.

Investigators say that the pilots of the 737 Max-8 aircraft have been struggling with a new feature of the aircraft, which is an automated system created to keep the plane from stalling.

A regularly scheduled flight from Bole airport in Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya crashed at 8.44am local time (5.44am GMT), after taking off at 8.38am.

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North American airlines that operate the 737 MAX 8 said they were monitoring the investigation.

Ethiopian Airlines made a decision to ground its remaining four 737 Max 8s until further notice as "an extra safety precaution", spokesman Asrat Begashaw said.

At least 21 staff members from the United Nations were killed in the crash, said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who led a moment of silence at a meeting where he said "a global tragedy has hit close to home". Before losing contact, GebreMariam said, the pilot sent a distress call and was given approval to return to the tarmac. It has flown more than 1,200 hours.

Ethiopian officials declared Monday a day of mourning. Boeing planned to send a technical team to Ethiopia.

"We are now confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight", the airline said.

African air travel has improved in recent years, with the International Air Transport Association in November noting "two years free of any fatalities on any aircraft type".

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tweeted confirming deaths but did not give a number.

The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger flight was in 2010, when a plane went down minutes after takeoff from Beirut, killing all 90 people on board.

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