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Cablegate: Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flt 409: Lebanese

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLB #0074 0251016
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251016Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6407
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA IMMEDIATE 0144
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 2722
RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA IMMEDIATE 3177
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 3767
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEANHA/FAA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEANHA/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS BEIRUT 000074

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/ES-O AND NEA
TRANSPORTATION FOR NTSB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR CASC KEMR MOPS LE
SUBJECT: CRASH OF ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES FLT 409: LEBANESE
GOVERNMENT REQUESTS U.S. ASSISTANCE IN SEARCH AND RESCUE,
RECOVERY

1. The Lebanese government has requested immediate USG
assistance in search and rescue and/or recovery operations
following the crash of Ethiopian Airways flight 409 on
January 25. The plane, en route from Beirut to Addis Ababa,
went down shortly after its 02:30 hrs (local) take-off
approximately 4 km off the Lebanese coast about 15 km south
of Beirut. Debris and bodies are currently being recovered
from the water and adjacent coastline. Lebanese military
officials estimate the depth of the water in the area where
the plane went down to be 50-100 meters.

2. Mid-morning on January 25, the Lebanese Armed Forces
passed to Embassy Beirut on behalf of the defense minister a
request for the following: "humanitarian assistance" in
recovering the bodies from the flight; assistance in locating
and recovering the plane's "black box"; and assistance in
interpreting the data from the flight data recorder and
cockpit voice recorder once they are recovered. The Lebanese
authorities specifically requested divers to assist in the
recovery operations.

3. At noon on January 25, the Lebanese prime minister's
office also requested the assistance of the NTSB and FAA in
recovering and interpreting data from the plane's recorders.
An official from the office stated that Prime Minister Hariri
had already authorized reception of an NTSB/FAA team, and
noted that Lebanon welcomed any help the U.S. could offer in
the follow-up to the crash. In a midday press conference,
the prime minister said that Lebanon was requesting
assistance from the U.S., UK, Cyprus and France.

4. Embassy Beirut recommends a favorable response to the
Lebanese requests and stands ready to facilitate.
SISON

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