In the first major air crash of 2010, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 has gone into the sea soon after taking off from Beirut airport bound for Addis Ababa. There were 82 passengers on board and 8 crew. No survivors have so far been found.
The weather had been stormy, and eye witnesses spoke of seeing a ball of fire in the sky before the aircraft crashed. The Lebanese President has said it is unlikely that foul play was involved. Ethiopian Airlines is considered to have a good safety record, but a similar 737 from Kenya Airways crashed in Cameroon at the cost of 114 lives after also taking off in heavy rain and thunderstorms in 2007.
Last year’s worst air accident, the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 over the Atlantic en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, also happened in poor weather. (See my blog of June 20, 2009). It was the deadliest air crash in eight years, as all 228 people on board were killed.
The cause of the accident remains a mystery, not helped by the fact that it has proved impossible so far to find the aircraft’s flight recorders. The search will resume next month.