Tags: Beirut | crash | Ethiopia | airline

Beirut Mourns Ethiopian Airlines Crash

Monday, 25 Jan 2010 09:26 AM

BEIRUT — Families of passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed in flames into the sea off Lebanon have huddled at Beirut airport, hoping for the best -- but fearing the worst.

While grim-faced officials played down expectations that any of the 83 passengers and seven crew may have survived, relatives gathered in a VIP lounge.

Some wept softly. Some wailed unconsolably. Some made frantic telephone calls.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who declared Monday a national day of mourning, arrived at the airport to offer comfort to the families.

"We are working with all the power we have to try and find missing people from this tragedy," Hariri told reporters. "We are working to find the black box that will tell us what really happened on the plane."

One sobbing woman screamed: "Why, why?"

Another said she had lost hope for her husband: "He's my life. They won't find him, I know it, they won't find him."

A third woman, wearing a black headscarf, cried out to her missing father: "You're a good man, you don't deserve this. Why did you do this to us, God?"

A young boy named Ali comforted his mother, who tearfully asked him repeatedly if he had any news of his father. "Not yet," he replied.

Another 15-year-old gently helped his mother sip a glass of water in a corner where she had nearly collapsed in tears.

One couple gave up after a few hours of trying to get any information on a family member. "The officials here aren't telling us anything. At least if we go home, the television will tell us something," they said as they left the lounge.

Suddenly, one of the anguished relatives suddenly announced that he had news of survivors --, bringing a stampede of families rushing towards him, calling out "Inshallah."

But their hopes were quickly dashed by official reports that no survivors had been found.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

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MiddleEast
BEIRUT — Families of passengers on board an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed in flames into the sea off Lebanon have huddled at Beirut airport, hoping for the best -- but fearing the worst.
Beirut,crash,Ethiopia,airline
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2010-26-25
Monday, 25 Jan 2010 09:26 AM
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