, ADDIS ABABA, Jan 26 – Ethiopian Airlines Tuesday said it was "very unlikely" that any survivors would be found among the 90 people flying on one of its jets which crashed into the sea shortly after leaving Beirut.
Spokeswoman Wogayehu Tefere also told AFP that 25 bodies had been recovered by foreign military off Lebanon\’s coast since the Boeing plunged flaming into the Mediterranean, the worst disaster in the airline\’s long history.
"It is very unlikely that we can still recover some survivors. But the search and rescue operations are going on," she said.
"So far 25 bodies have been recovered and, according to the first report of our team there, there are six Ethiopian bodies among them, and eight Lebanese. But it has to be confirmed," Wogayehu added.
Ethiopian Airlines, which was established in 1946 and operates an all-Boeing fleet, is considered one of Africa\’s best carriers.
Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri earlier said that only 15 bodies had so far been recovered by a task force including ships from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a US navy destroyer as well as aircraft from France, Britain and Cyprus.
According to Lebanese and airline officials, the 83 passengers comprised 54 Lebanese nationals, 23 Ethiopians, one French, one British, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Turkish and another of as yet undetermined nationality.
Ethiopian Airlines on Monday sent an investigative team to Beirut.
"We are still expecting the last news from our team in Beirut. The investigation is going on," Wogaheyu said.
We don\’t have yet a clear idea about the causes of the accident but it might most probably be the bad weather, not an attack," she said.
Wogayehu added that she expected the Ethiopian authorities to organise a memorial ceremony for the victims on Wednesday.