At least nine British nationals among 157 killed in Ethiopia crash

At least nine British nationals died in a plane crash over Ethiopia that killed all 157 people on board, the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed.

The FCO raised the official number from seven to nine after it discovered two dual-nationals had been travelling on other country's passports.

It came as Boeing, the US plane maker which produced the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 aircraft, faced pressure to guarantee the safety of all models of that type.

The cause of Sunday's crash is not yet known, but there are similarities with last year's Lion Air jet crash over the Java Sea where 189 died.

In both cases the planes - the latest version of the best-selling commercial jet in history - had erratic speeds before crashing minutes after take off.

In response to the crash, Ethiopian Airlines grounded all of its 737 Max 8 aircraft as a safety precaution. The airline was using five new models and was awaiting delivery of 25 more.

"Although we don't yet know the cause of the accident, we had to decide to ground the particular fleet as extra safety precaution," the airline said in a statement.

Following the crash, China ordered its airlines to ground their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts, as did Indonesia and Cayman Airways, which has two models.

A huge clean up and investigation is underway. Credit: AP

UK airline Tui Airways, which currently has 15 in its fleet but plans on having a total of 32, has declined to "comment on any speculation" but says there is "no indication that we can't operate our 737 Max in a safe way".

Scandinavian airline Norwegian, which serves London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh in the UK has 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft and is also still allowing them to fly.

Middle Eastern budget carrier FlyDubai says it is "monitoring the situation" regarding its 737 Max 8 aircraft, but has faith in its planes' airworthiness.

Among the 157 killed in the crash were nine Britons, some of whom have been named as Joanna Toole, Joseph Waithaka, Sarah Auffret.

Mr Waithaka, a 55-year-old who lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, was returning from a trip to meet his two-month-old granddaughter and get a health check-up when he died.

His son Ben Kuria, who lives in south London, said his father had worked for a contractor that administered the UN oil for food programme in Iraq, before taking various jobs in the UK as a hospital porter and stock taker.

Speaking following his father's death, the 30 year old said: "We are still hoping to wake up from a really bad dream. It’s not sunk in yet but as we find out more and face the facts it will hit home a bit more."

Mr Waithaka's daughter Zipporah spoke of the last time she spoke to her dad, which was just before he boarded the fatal flight.

She said: "I said you know what dad, I love you and have a safe flight and he just said (in Kenyan) 'we'll see each other'. That was the last time that I spoke to my dad."

Irishman Michael Ryan, who was among seven from the UN's World Food Programme, was also killed.

Speaking to ITV News on Sunday, Ms Toole's father, Adrian, paid tribute to his daughter who was so "warm" that "nobody had a bad word to say about her".

Aerial images showed a huge crater had been left where the plane crashed. Credit: ITV News

The 36-year-old was "as warm and as good with people as she was with animals", her father said.

The flights passengers were made up of more than 35 nationalities, including Kenya, Canada, Ethiopia, China, Italy, the US, France, the UK, Egypt and Germany

A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: "Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragic incident in Ethiopia yesterday.

"There are currently five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft registered and operational in the United Kingdom.

"A sixth aircraft is due to enter operation later this week.

There was much excitement when the 737 Max 8 was originally released but there are now question marks over the model. Credit: AP

"The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for certifying all Boeing 737 Max 8 models and it is the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) that validates this certification across the EU, including the UK.

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority is liaising very closely with the EASA as the facts of this incident are established."

Ethiopia's state-affiliated broadcaster says the plane's black box which contains a flight recorder has been recovered but information from inside is not likely to be revealed for some time.

The 737 Max 8 is the latest version among four varieties of the best-selling commercial jet in history and Boeing has taken orders to produce 4,700 of the very same model.

The single-aisle family of planes which can carry up to 230 passengers is used by airlines around the world.