Ethiopian Airlines 737-800 - 311.
(photo credit: AP)
The cause was not immediately known. But
police ruled out terrorism and said the crash was likely weather-related. It
had been raining heavily in
on Sunday, and lightning had occasionally struck.
The Boeing 737-800 took off around 2:30 a.m.
for the Ethiopian capital , said
Ghazi Aridi, ’s
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 3.5 kilometers off the Lebanese coast.
Helicopters and naval ships were deployed to
find the plane, but came up unsuccessful.
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
The plane was carrying 90 people, including
83 passengers and 7 crew members. 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
An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on
board crashed into the sea early Monday just minutes after takeoff from , the country’s transportation