Developing: No survivors in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO at the crash site

At the Nairobi airport, hopes quickly dimmed for loved ones.

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

Ethiopian Airlines confirmed on Sunday evening Jakarta time that there were no survivors in the crash of its flight ET302 from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi in Kenya.

The statement cited the Kenya-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, including eight from China. The jet's last maintenance was on February 4, and it had flown just 1,200 hours.

Swedish flight tracker flightradar24.com said on its Twitter account that: "Additional data from Flightradar24 ADS-B network show that vertical speed was unstable after take off". The senior Ethiopian pilot, who joined the airline in 2010, sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return to the airport, the airline's CEO told reporters.

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Sunday's flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8:38 a.m. (0538 GMT), before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8:44 a.m.

A preliminary report into the October crash focused on airline maintenance and training and technical questions about the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor.

Police and troops were on the scene, as well as a crash investigation team from Ethiopia's civil aviation agency.

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 is Africa's biggest airline and recently the airport in Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading gateway to sub-Saharan Africa", NPR's Eyder Peralta reports.

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