Ethiopian Airlines says it believes 149 passengers and eight crew members were on board a plane that crashed six minutes after taking off from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, on a flight to Nairobi.
A statement from the airline on Sunday morning said the Boeing 737 crashed around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of the capital, shortly after taking off at 8:38 a.m. local time.
The airline statement said "search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties."
The Ethiopian prime minister's office in a separate, earlier statement offered condolences to families.
The Ethiopian prime minister's office says an Ethiopian Airlines plane has crashed on its way to Nairobi, with deaths reported.
The office issued a statement Sunday morning saying the Boeing 737 was on a regularly scheduled flight when it crashed. The statement gave no details.
A spokesman for the airline confirmed the plane crashed while heading from Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. It is not yet clear where the crash occurred. The airline has not issued a statement.
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.