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Lebanese authorities have ruled out sabotage as the cause of a fatal Ethiopian Airlines plane crash off the coast of Lebanon, instead blaming bad weather.

Flight ET409, a Boeing 737-800 heading for Addis Ababa, disappeared off the radar five minutes after taking off at 2:37am on Monday (local time).

Authorities downplayed hopes of finding survivors and focused on recovering the remains of passengers still strapped to their seats.

Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias el Murr said stormy weather was “in principle” to blame for the crash.

“A command tower recording shows the tower told the pilot to turn to avoid the storm, but the plane went in the opposite direction,” Mr Murr said in a television interview.

“We do not know what happened or whether it was beyond the pilot’s control.” Murr said. ABC

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