The Ethiopian Airlines (ET) aircraft ET 302, a Boeing 737-800 MAX, took off at 08:38 local time from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and was scheduled to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya at 10:25. It lost contact at 08:44, and crashed around Bishoftu town, some 45 kilometres from Addis Ababa.
The massive impact of the crash has created a 10-metre deep pit with 50 meters in diameter, an aerial shot of the accident site shows.
Ethiopian Airlines has asked China Railway Seventh Group Co Ltd, which was undertaking a China-invested project nearby, to pitch in the searching work as the area is difficult to access due to poor transportation condition.
By 15:30 local time, two excavators and a loaded truck have rallied at the site and the Ethiopian Federal Police (EPF) was there to maintain order.
Rescuers have been able to retrieve some remains of the aircraft's engine and wings by 20:00.
The wreckage pieces were scattered in an area as large as 10,000 square meters because of the huge impact force, they said, adding that the excavation would go on overnight.