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Britons on Lebanon sea crash plane

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An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board has crashed into the sea (AP)

An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board has crashed into the sea (AP)

An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people on board has crashed into the sea (AP)

Two Britons were aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane which crashed into the sea off Lebanon in stormy weather, minutes after take-off, a government minister said.

The cause was not immediately known, but police ruled out terrorism and said the crash was probably weather-related. It had been raining heavily with lightning in Beirut.

The Boeing 737-800 took off from Beirut at around 2.30am local time (12.30am GMT) for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said Ghazi Aridi, Lebanon's public works and transportation minister.

"The weather undoubtedly was very bad," he said. He said the plane went down about two miles off the Lebanese coast.

The plane was carrying 90 people, including 83 passengers and seven crew.

Mr Aridi said the passengers were 54 Lebanese, 22 Ethiopians, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Canadian of Lebanese origin, one Russian of Lebanese origin, a French woman and the two Britons, who were of Lebanese origin.

Helicopters and naval ships were scrambled to find the plane.

Ethiopian Airlines said on its website: "A team is already working on gathering all pertinent information.

"An investigative team has already been dispatched to the scene and we will release further information as further updates are received."

PA