The plane which was travelling from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Kenyan capital Nairobi, crashed barely six minutes after takeoff.
The pilot of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 told air traffic controllers that he was having control problems before the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed, according to an account of cockpit voice recordings from the airlines Chief Executive Tewolde GebreMariam.
A decision where in Europe to send the black boxes would be taken by Thursday, the airline said.
In November, two incidents were reported to the NASA-run Aviation Safety Reporting Database that involved problems in controlling the 737 MAX at low altitude just after take-off with autopilot engaged, according to documents first published by the Dallas Morning News and verified by Reuters. The FAA has refused to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8, leaving the USA in an increasingly small minority, the BBC reports.
Siim Kiisler, the Estonian environment minister, said: "We have lost fellow delegates, interpreters and United Nations staff".
The 737 Max 8 was first placed into commercial service in May 2017 by a Malaysian airline, Malindo Air, the twin-engine plane rising in popularity due to its fuel saving and long-range capability. In some places, such as India, Australia and the European Union, aviation authorities have banned the entire 737 Max family of planes from their airspace.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered changes to the planes' flight manuals and procedures in November - and Ethiopian Air says it followed those guidelines.
He said he was highly upset because they didn't let him board the next flight but, he wrote that security then "told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight".
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October's Lion Air crash is also unresolved, but attention has focused so far on the role of a software system created to push the plane down as well as airline training and maintenance.
In Canada, the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows airlines here have 41 of the Boeing 737 model.
He said the airline "is giving utmost focus and attention to comforting and counselling relatives and friends of passengers who were on board the flight".
The passengers hail from more than 30 countries and Ethiopia has limited forensic facilities that could draw out the process of identifying the victims. The company has announced that it has sent a technical team to the crash site to help with the investigation.
"Similar causes may have contributed to both events", European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people previous year.
"I learned that the flight crashed nearly just after it took off".
Five members of the Hamilton family killed in the Ethiopian crash: Ann Wangui Karanja, 60; Ryan, 7; Kerri, 4; and Carolyne Karanja, 34, and Rubi, 9-months.