Ethiopian Airlines plane crashes

An Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 90 people crashed into the Mediterranean Sea in flames early Monday just minutes after takeoff from Beirut, authorities said.

Four bodies were recovered in the hours after the crash as authorities combed through the choppy waters under gray skies, a Lebanese military official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but a police official said it was likely weather-related. Beirut has seen heavy rain and lightning since Sunday.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said terrorism was not suspected. “Sabotage is ruled out as of now,” he said.

The Boeing 737-800 took off around 2:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. EST) for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said Ghazi Aridi, the public works and transportation minister.

“The weather undoubtedly was very bad,” Aridi told reporters at the airport. He added that the plane went down about 2 miles (3.5 kilometers) off the Lebanese coast.

The Lebanese army said in a statement saying the plane was “on fire shortly after takeoff.”

The wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon was on the plane, according to an embassy official who asked that his name not be used because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Helicopters and naval ships were scrambled for a rescue effort amid intermittent rain, thunder and lightning.

Ethiopian Airlines released a statement on its Web site confirming the plane was missing.

“A team is already working on gathering all pertinent information,” the statement said. “An investigative team has already been dispatched to the scene and we will release further information as further updates are received.”

Calls to the airline were not immediately returned.

Relatives of the passengers began arriving at the airport early Monday, many of them crying and hugging. Officials led them into a VIP area.

The plane was carrying 90 people, including 83 passengers and 7 crew. Aridi identified the passengers as 54 Lebanese, 22 Ethiopians, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Canadian of Lebanese origin, one Russian of Lebanese origin, a French woman and two Britons of Lebanese origin.

Ethiopian Airlines reported that there were 82 passengers and eight crew; the discrepancy could not immediately be explained.

Ethiopian Airlines has long had a reputation for high-quality service compared to other African airlines, with two notable crashes in more than 20 years.

A hijacked Ethiopian Airlines jet crash-landed off the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean when it ran out of fuel in November 1996, killing 126 of the 175 people aboard. The plane had just left Addis Ababa when three hijackers stormed the cockpit and demanded to be taken to Australia.

In September 1988, an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed shortly after taking off when it ran into a flock of birds, killing 31 of the 104 people on board.

Source: AP

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  1. Adrian says

    i am very sorry to hear this news. let us pray for whose who travelled in that flight

  2. Adrian says

    it is sad news for everyone in the world. this situation should not occur here after, for that i am praying to god.

  3. gedif meseret says

    really iam very sorry to hear such kinds of news from my lovely country !
    i wish to hear good news about ethiopia forever

  4. cliff says

    There were eighty-two passengers and eight crewmembers. Twenty-two of the passengers were Ethiopians returning home from Lebanon. As far as the foreign press is concerned they were ordinary passengers. Business people or vacationers returning home. But we Ethiopians know better. It was no surprise to us that they were all women. No one has to tell us they will all be young. We have close relatives like that all over the Middle East. They are the surplus Ethiopians.

    This group of Ethiopians returned home in a body bag. Some will stay in the Mediterranean. All will have a special place in our hearts. On the other hand, talk to any Ethiopian Airlines employee and they will tell you the horror stories of the returnees from the Middle East. The trip back home should be renamed the ‘horror express’. Some return with deep psychological scars, some with visible body scars and some in a casket. Some sit there like zombies unable to talk, afraid to move, unsure of themselves. Some come back home to die. They will never recover from the deep humiliation and abuse.

    They all go there to better themselves and their family. There used to be a long line stretching all the way to the street and sidewalk in front of the old courthouse in Ledeta. It was a line of girls registering a name change to go to the Middle East. Having a Muslim name was a plus. Then came Woyane and institutionalized the process. They called it employment opportunity and started to charge for the service. Woyane makes a lot of money selling citizens. It is a very lucrative business. It is true they started selling maids to the Middle East before they graduated to selling children to the West in the so-called ‘adoption’ scam.

    So our sisters flock to the Middle East to make something of their life. In Lebanon, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia etc. they join others like them from the Far East in perpetual servitude. They enter a region with no laws, minimal view of human rights and total absence of justice. The plight of our people in the Middle East is an open secret. The suffering and humiliation have been told and retold plenty of times. They jump from high-rise building and kill themselves. They kill their tormentors in self-defense. Unable to understand their agony their brain shuts off.

    So the ones that died in the accident are the carriers of this horror. Despite all this happening to them, our sisters are on of the highest contributors to Woyane’s 10% growth that is told and retold again and again. Let us take Lebanon by itself. They say there are over twenty-five thousand Ethiopians working there. Let us assume each one sends US $100.00 per month. That is US$ 2.5 million per month and US $30 million a year. In Ethiopia that will be $390 million Birr. A lot of money if you ask me. That is what you would call a cash cow.

    How does the government appreciate the contribution of these citizens that cling to their motherland despite the threat to their well-being? Silence and indifference is their response. So it was a surprise to see the Woyane foreign minister in Beirut after the accident. There he was sitting with the Lebanese prime minister. ‘Why did he go there?’ is a good question? Did he go there to gather his people around him and console them in this time of grief? Did he go to meet with friend and family of the victims and tell them their government’s commitment to help in the search and rescue effort? Did he go there to give them moral strength? Did he go there to hold their hands and be with them? I am afraid the answer is none of the above. In Woyane’s Ethiopia, those who rule don’t mingle with ordinary Ethiopians. His Excellency does not have time for uneducated simple maids.

    Then why did he go? Well, he went there in his capacity as Board Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines. Yes, he is the Chairman of the Board. Don’t ask what his qualifications are for such a high post. Does his resume show his talent in managing a little kiosk? Does it show his education and capacity for such a demanding job? Does he have a track record of running a business? The answer is none of the above. His qualification is his membership in TPLF. Thus he went there because some Lebanese officials used to degrading our Ethiopian sisters upgraded their contempt and questioned the skill of the pilots and crew. The Foreign Minister went there to calm the nerves of the Lebanese officials. He went there to protect the integrity of his cash cow called Ethiopian Airlines. Why they don’t change the name to ‘Woyane Airlines’ is a mystery. The only thing Ethiopian is the name. In America, they call it truth in advertising.

    Thus it was no surprise to see my Diaspora friends decrying the racism of the Lebanese in the ill-treatment of those in grief. Despite the fact that we’ve for long known the horrible conditions Ethiopian guest workers are subjected to in countries like Lebanon, some choose to vent our rage on the people of Lebanon. I agree with Fekade, it is totally ‘a misplaced rage’. Our rage should be directed at those that allow such conditions to exist. Our indignations should be directed at the root of the problem. We should be careful in our wholesale condemnation of the Lebanese people.

    We should be aware that there still are over twenty-five thousand of our people working there. We don’t want to contribute to their further ill-treatment. Our quarrel is with the TPLF regime that considers the rest of us trespassers in our own land. We fix our house first, and the world will shower us with respect and love. As Henry Thoreau said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Don’t tell me you are still hacking at the branches! That is so yesterday, my friend. Rage against Lebanon is hacking at the branch. We all know the WOYANE , TPLF or so called Ethiopian Government is a war driven economy. If there is no war Woyane gets busy to create one so the so-called war on terror allies shower TPLF government with cash ,no questioned asked. The Ethiopian government is creating it’s own terrorists to continue being an ally with the super powers .If no terrorist in the region MELES ZENAWI and his gangsters are going to go broke, Ethiopian Government is not about to let that happen . Are they?Hell No!!

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