ethiopian airlines flight 409 (boeing 737-800) headed towards adis ababa plunged into the mediterranean only minutes after take-off from beirut’s airport. lebanese officials reported that the aircraft disappeared from radar screens 5 minutes after take-off from beirut’s rafik hariri international airport during stormy weather. eyewitnesses say they say a ‘ball of fire’ in the sky.
all 90 passengers on board, including 7 crew members, are presumed dead. the majority of the passengers were lebanese (54) and ethiopian (22). other passengers included citizens from france, uk, turkey, russia, canada, syria and iraq. among them was the wife of the french ambassador in beirut, marla pietton.
helicopters and naval ships are still searching the crash site but poor weather and rough seas have hampered the rescue efforts. at least 23 bodies have been recovered so far.
the cause of the crash is still unclear and an investigation has been launched. however, president michel suleiman has said that as of now, foul play was not suspected.
ethiopian airlines has a better reputation for safety than many other african airlines who are known to have lax aviation standards. the company has had 2 other notable crashes in the last 20 years – one in 1996 and another in 1988.
prime minister saad hariri has declared a national day of mourning.
nittyGriddy presents its most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the passengers and crew of ethiopian airlines et 409. may their souls rest in peace and may God grant their loved ones all the strength and support that they need. what a tragic event.