Search widened for victims of Ethiopian jet crash

Lebanese and international rescuers widened their search for the victims and flight recorders of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Beirut.

By (AP)

Published: Tue 26 Jan 2010, 1:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:42 AM

Ships including a U.S. naval vessel and European and U.N. peacekeeping helicopters searched through the night for the wreckage of the Boeing 737-800 that plunged into the Mediterranean in a ball of fire on Monday.

Ninety people, mostly Lebanese and Ethiopians, were on board Flight ET409 bound for Addis Ababa when it disappeared off the radar five minutes after taking off.

Twenty-four bodies have been recovered so far, including those of two toddlers. The plane had apparently broken up in the air before plunging into the sea and Lebanon has ruled out terrorism as the reason for the crash.

A Lebanese security official said the recovery teams would widen their search perimeter off the Na’ameh coast, 10 km (six miles) south of the capital, after rough seas and high waves hampered them during the night.

“They need to pinpoint the location of the wreckage and then launch a dive there,” the official said.

Many relatives were angry the plane had been allowed to take off in bad weather.

Information Minister Tarek Mitry, speaking after a meeting with ministers and security officials late on Monday, said there was no reason the plane should not have taken off.

“Other planes landed and took off after and before it. There is no reason why the airport authorities should not have allowed it to take off,” he told reporters.

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