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Weather blamed for plane crash off Lebanon

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Weather blamed for plane crash off Lebanon
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Bad weather is being blamed for the crash of an Ethiopian airlines plane off the coast of Lebanon.

The Lebanese Prime Minister has flown over the crash site, as the search continues for any survivors.

There were 90 people on board the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which disappeared from radar screens some five minutes after taking off from Beirut.

At least 30 bodies have so been recovered. 54 of those on board were Lebanese, 22 were Ethiopian, two were British and there were also Canadian, Russian, French, Iraqi and Syrian nationals. The wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon was reported to be among the passengers.

Distraught families gathered at the airport in Beirut where the plane took off, while the government announced a day of national mourning.

Michel Suleiman, the Lebanese President, said:
“The rescue operations are taking place under very difficult weather conditions. The crash took place at night when the weather was incredibly stormy and the sea was very choppy. So the rescue operation is going on with great difficulty. Sabotage has been ruled out and in any case the investigation will uncover all the details.”

The plane was bound for the Ethiopian capital where waiting friends and relatives tried to comfort each other.

Ethiopian Airlines says there is no word on the cause of the crash, but the plane had been serviced and passed inspections over Christmas.