The rescue team involved in the search for surviv ors and bodies from the Ethiopian airlines plane (Boeing 737-800), which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, has identified 16 of the 60 bodies retrieved so far.
Six of those identified are Ethiopians and eight Lebanese, officials from the Ai rlines’ Public Relations Department told PANA here.
Meanwhile, hope for possible survivors dims, if reports in the Lebanese local me dia are anything to go by.
According to the local media, rescue workers found no one to save. They could on ly retrieve corpses of those aboard the plane that crashed into the sea early Mo n day during a fierce winter storm.
The Boeing 737-800, bound for Addis Ababa, was carrying eight crew members and 8 2 passengers when it crashed into the Mediterranean shortly after takeoff from B e irut amid hail and thunder.
The US-born wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon was among the passengers.
Authorities have yet to find the flight data and voice recorders, or black boxes , that could give clues about the cause of the crash.
But officials said the ferocious overnight storm that blanketed the small countr y’s mountains with snow was likely a major factor.
“Bad weather was apparently the cause of the crash,” said Defence Minister Elias Murr, according to local news outlets. “We have ruled out foul play so far.”
Lebanon’s airport has been a subject of controversy because of allegations that the Shiite Muslim political group maintains a security presence there to oversee
the importation of weapons.
No flights originating from Lebanon can land in North America, largely because o f security concerns.
But Lebanese and Ethiopian officials quickly discounted the possibility of terro rism or sabotage.
A spokesman for the Addis Ababa government said the airline had received no prio r threats.