A Boeing 737-800 aircraft carrying 90 Ethiopian Airlines passengers and crew crashed into the Mediterranean Sea earlier today, having burst into flames minutes after take-off.

Ethiopian Airlines flight 409 took off from Beirut Airport for Addis Ababa and lost contact with airport control amid thunder and heavy rain.

The cause of the crash has not yet been ascertained, however, Lebanon has experienced stormy weather with thunder, lightning and rain since yesterday.

The Lebanese Army and Navy and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon are scouring the area alongside a team sent by Ethiopian Airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Girma Wake said that the aircraft had been serviced on 25 December and passed inspection, according to Sky News.

“I am in contact with the Lebanese authorities, who have not yet confirmed any survivors,” he said.

Of those on board, 54 were Lebanese, 22 Ethiopian and two British. There were also Canadian, Russian, French, Iraqi and Syrian nationals on the plane.