An Ethiopian airliner that crashed off the coast of Lebanon was on fire before it plummeted into the Mediterranean with no known survivors.
Although Lebanese government officials were quick to rule out terrorism, they confirmed witness accounts of a “‘ball of fire'” falling into the sea. An investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched. According to one aviation expert, speaking anonymously, the aircraft probably caught fire after what he described as a “‘fuel tank ignition event'” that may have had nothing to do with the weather.
Until yesterday, the airline had not been involved in a major crash since November 1996, when a Nairobi-bound passenger jet was commandeered by hijackers and was forced to crash land in the Indian Ocean, killing 125 people on board.