efe-epaAddis Ababa

Thousands of mourners, including family members and friends, attended a funeral service held in Ethiopia on Sunday for the 157 people who died after their plane crashed shortly after take-off.

A total of 17 empty caskets wrapped in the African country's flag, symbolizing the victims, were displayed at the funeral in the Ethiopian capital's Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, as documented by an epa-efe photographer.

On Saturday, Ethiopia's Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges said it could take up to six months to identify the human remains from the crash through DNA samples.

Analysis of the black boxes from the ill-fated flight was also ongoing, France's air accident investigation agency (BEA) confirmed Saturday.

"Data from the CVR (flight data recorders) has been successfully downloaded by BEA and transferred to the Ethiopian investigation team / communication on their behalf / BEA did not listen to the audio files," BEA tweeted.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane, en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, crashed six minutes after it took off on March 10, killing everyone on board and sparking a ripple of concerns globally over that airplane's safety record.

The tragedy prompted the United States-based company, Boeing, to ground the entire global fleet of 737 Max 8 aircraft over safety concerns on Wednesday.

The people who died traveling onboard flight ET 302 that crashed near the town of Bishoftu, 45 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of the Ethiopian capital, were from 35 nationalities, mainly Kenyans, Canadians and Ethiopians.

In Oct. 2018, the same model was involved in a Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

Although Ethiopian Airlines has a good reputation for air safety, a passenger plane heading for Addis Ababa crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after taking off from Beirut International Airport, killing all 83 passengers and seven crew members on board in Jan. 2010.

One of the airline's deadliest incidents was in Nov. 1996, when a flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi ran out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean near the Comoros islands after it was hijacked by three men who demanded the pilot take them to Australia, killing 125 of the 175 people on board dead.

Another Ethiopian Airlines jet on route from Addis Ababa to Milan was hijacked and diverted to Geneva in Feb. 2014 by its co-pilot, Hailemedhin Tegegn, who claimed he was seeking asylum in Switzerland.

No one on board the plane was harmed.