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Ethiopian Airlines crash in Beirut

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2010 | 12:00 AM


An Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 90 people caught fire and crashed into the sea minutes after taking off from Beirut early yesterday, setting off a frantic search as passenger seats, baby sandals and other debris washed ashore. No survivors had been found by nightfall, and Health Minister Mohammed Jawad Khalife told reporters that emergency workers had recovered 21 bodies. The cause of the crash was not immediately known. Lebanon has seen stormy weather since Sunday night, with crackling thunder, lightning and rain. The Lebanese army said in a statement the plane was on fire shortly after takeoff. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said terrorism was not suspected in the crash of Flight 409, which was headed for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.