Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashed into the Mediterranean Sea this morning. The plane, which crashed shortly after takeoff this morning from Beirut, was carrying 90 people. Around 20 bodies have been recovered so far.
The Associated Press reports that Lebanon's president Michel Suleiman said terrorism was not suspected in the crash of the airline, which was headed for Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. Instead, stormy weather is thought to be the reason for the crash.
Relatives of the passengers streamed into Beirut's airport for news. Andree Qusayfi said his brother, 35-year-old Ziadh, was traveling to Ethiopia for work at a computer company.
"We begged him to postpone his flight because of the storm," Qusayfi said. "But he insisted on going because he had work appointments."
The Boeing 737-800 took off around 2:30 A.M. (7:30 p.m. EST) and went down 2 miles off the coast, said Ghazi Aridi, the public works and transportation minister. The Lebanese army said in a statement the plane was "on fire shortly after takeoff."