NAIROBI – An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jet to Nairobi crashed early on Sunday killing 149 passengers and eight crew members, the airline said.

The flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38AM local time, before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44AM.

The airline later said there were no survivors in the crash which is now under investigation. The 157 dead were of 33 nationalities.

The Boeing 737-800MAX is the same type of plane as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing 234 people. 

“This is the second major, fatal accident involving the Boeing 737-800 MAX in less than five months,” aviation analyst Alex Macheras.

Ethiopian only took delivery of the brand new plane four months ago.

The prime minister’s office sent condolences via Twitter to the families of those lost in the crash, without offering further details.

State-owned Ethiopian 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.

Its last major crash was in January 2010, when a flight from Beirut, Lebanon, went down shortly after take-off. The plane, a Boeing 737-800, exploded killing 83 passengers and seven crew.