An Ethiopian Airlines flight has crashed on its way to Nairobi with deaths being reported, the Ethiopian prime minister’s office said.

The office issued a statement on Sunday morning saying the Boeing 737 was on a regularly scheduled flight when it crashed.

A spokesman for the airline confirmed the plane crashed shortly before 9am (local time) with 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.

It is believed the plane crashed six minutes after taking off and 31 miles from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

The PM’s office said on Twitter: “The office of the PM, on behalf of government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express it’s deepest condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning.”

The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.

A statement from the airline said they had no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities.

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

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