Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration ET-ANB performing flight ET-409 from Beirut (Lebanon) to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) with 82 passengers and 8 crew, departed Beirut's runway 21 around 2:35L (00:35Z) when the airplane lost height and impacted the Mediterranean Sea about 2nm off the coast of Naameh and about 4nm southsouthwest of the airport.

Lebanon's Authorities initially reported, they were able to recover 7 survivors, but did not confirm that report later.

By Feb 23rd all 90 bodies have been recovered from the Sea and were identified.

An Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Monday morning shortly after it took off from Beirut International Airport in stormy weather. Officials said that 82 passengers and 8 crew members were on board.

“The flight lost contact with Lebanese air traffic controllers shortly after takeoff,” said Wogayehu Terefe, a spokeswoman for Ethiopian Airlines. She added that a rescue crew was headed to the crash site to see if anyone had survived.

Of the 90 people aboard the flight, more than half - 51 people - were Lebanese nationals. The airline also said that 23 passengers were Ethiopian. Two British nationals were also listed as passengers, and the remaining six passengers were Turkish, French, Russian, Canadian, Syrian and Iraqi nationals, the airline said. The eight crew members were Ethiopian.

On the morning following the crash, Lebanese authorities reported having located the crash site 3.5 kilometres (1.9 nmi) off the coast from the village of Na'ameh. The search for survivors was carried out by the Lebanese Army, using Sikorsky S-61 helicopters, the Lebanese Navy and UNIFIL troops. The U.S. military, in response to a request from the Lebanese government, sent the guided missile destroyer USS Ramage, a Navy P-3 aircraft, and the salvage ship USNS Grapple. The French Navy sent a Breguet Atlantic reconnaissance aircraft. UNIFIL sent three ships (among them the German minesweeper tender Mosel and the Turkish B class corvette Bozcaada) and two helicopters to the scene. Further helicopters to assist search and possibly rescue measures were sent by the Royal Air Force, and the Cyprus Police aviation unit.

As of 6 Feb 2010, only 16 fatalities have been officially confirmed, although all 90 people on board the plane are presumed deceased. The wife of the French ambassador in Beirut, Marla Sanchez Pietton was among the passengers.

The recovered bodies were sent to the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut for DNA extraction and identification. On 5 February 2010, it was reported that the American vessel Odyssey Explorer was due to arrive during the next week to assist in the search for the aircrafts Cockpit Voice Recorder and Flight Data Recorder. The Lebanese Army reported on 6 February that several large sections of the aircraft, believed to include the tail have been found in 45 metres (148 ft) of water at a location 1.1 nautical miles (2.0 km) off the coast of Na'ameh. On 7 February 2010 the Lebanese army divers were able to recover the plane's flight data recorder; which was sent to the Beirut Naval Base to be handed over to the plane crash investigation team. All the deceased had been recovered from the sea and identified by 23 February 2010.