በቀላሉ የመሥሪያ ማገናኛዎች

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Ethiopian Airline flight ET409 destined for Addis Ababa with 90 people on board crashed into the Mediterranean Monday shortly after taking off from Beirut, Lebanon.

The plane took off from Beirut around 2:35 a.m. local time in what was reported to be a stormy weather. Ethiopian Airlines CEO Girma Wake told reporters "the plane was lost from radar a few minutes after takeoff". Later, Girma confirmed the plane had crashed into the sea just two kilometers outside Beirut. He also added that the aircraft "had no technical problems at all".

Girma said 82 passengers and eight crew members were on the Boeing 737 manufactured in 2002. Officials say there were 51 Lebanese nationals onboard, 23 Ethiopians (including crew), two British and six other passengers from other countries.

Witnesses on the coast reported seeing a ball of fire as the plane plunged into the sea. Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman said there was no indication terrorism caused the crash. Officials say it was likely weather related.

The crash took place amid heavy rains and storms in Lebanon.

Lebanese officials have launched a search and rescue operation for possible survivors. Scores of bodies have been recovered.

Officials say Marla Pietton, the wife of France's ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, was among the passengers on the ill-fated flight.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said Rezene Tesfamariam. “I’ve seen refugees fleeing for their lives, but never anything like this.”

Rezene Tesfamariam, the Haiti country director for Plan International, told VOA what it was like when the capital city of Haiti crumbled in an earthquake last week.Rezene is an Ethiopian is working in Haiti on the needs of children from Plan International offices on the fourth floor of a building in Port-au-Prince.

Walking through the devastated capital, Rezene saw a collapsed school building the children and their two teachers buried in the rubble.

“It was a shock to everybody,” he said. “Everybody was hysterical and didn’t know what to do. We are not used to seeing earthquakes in this part of the world.”None of his colleagues was injured.

Rezene said there continues to be great need for food, water and medical treatment for thousands of the quake’s victims.Remembering the collapsed school, he said there is also dire need for heavy equipment to remove of the dead who are still buried in the rubble of the Haitian capital.

Listen to the Amharic interview by Surafel.

Listen to the Afan Oromo interview by Jalene Gemeda.

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