An Ethiopian 737-800, flight ET409, crashed today wafter departing the Beirut International Airport for Addis Ababa with 90 persons on board.
An team to aid accident investigators has been dispatched from Ethiopia, including representatives of Ethiopia’s civil aviation authority, the airline’s security chief, and other flight operations, maintenance and medical personnel.
The flight departed at 2:35 a.m. local time with 82 passengers and eight crew onboard. Ethiopian says the nationalities break down as 23 Ethiopians, 51 Lebanese, 1 Turkish, 1 French, 2 British, 1 Russian, 1 Canadian, 1 Syrian, 1 Iraqi. There have been no reports of survivors.
The cause of the accident remains unknow at this early stage. According to local reports, the Lebanese military says fire was seen on the aircraft after takeoff.
The incident is a set back for one of Africa’s strongest growing carriers, having managed to remain profitable even during bleak economic conditions and maintaining its growth path. It recently added a second hub and also agreed with Boeing on an expansion of its 737-800 fleet.