A few hours ago, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 departed Beirut bound for Addis Ababa, then disappeared from radar a few minutes later. The aircraft, which had ninety people on board, apparently crashed into the Mediterranean.
Beirut was experiencing heavy rain from a thunderstorm at the time the flight took off, and there are apparently reports that some residents of a coastal Lebanese village south of Beirut saw a fireball falling into the sea. Few details are known as of yet, but hopefully the aircraft will be located quickly so the investigation into the accident can begin.
This accident occured mere days after Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines revealed an order for ten new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, worth $767 million at list prices.
*Update* At this point (1510 Zulu) thirty-four bodies have been located, and work continues to recover the wreckage of the aircraft.
*Update 2* As of 1600 Zulu on the 26th, the body count had been revised down to 14 due to confusion and double-counting initially. There are also reports that the pilot ignored the controller’s instructions to turn away from a strong storm cell.