Plane crashes into sea off Beirut

Ethiopian Airlines jet carrying 89 people crashes minutes after take-off

An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 89 people on board has crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, minutes after taking off from Beirut airport.

The plane, a Boing 737-800, was carrying 80 passengers, including small children, and nine crew members.

The majority of the passengers were of Lebanese or Ethiopian origin. There were two Britons on board, as well as citizens of Turkey, France, Russia, Canada, Syria, and Iraq.

Among them was Marla Pietton, the wife of the French ambassador in Beirut.

The plane took off around 2am local time for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. It disappeared from radar screens about five minutes after take off. The crash is being attributed to heavy rain and lightning in Beirut.

At least two bodies have been recovered so far. The United Nations peace-keeping mission in Beirut has sent two extra ships.


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