Lebanon's president ruled out terrorism as the cause for the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Beirut. Michel Suleiman said Monday that rescue efforts would continue despite stormy weather.
At least 23 bodies were recovered from the crash site.
The plane, carrying 90 passengers and crew members, disappeared from the radar just minutes after taking off from the Lebanese capital. Al-Arabiya reported that the wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon was aboard the flight.
During a press conference called by Suleiman after the plane was discovered to have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, he said Lebanese rescue forces would continue to search for survivors despite the difficult weather.
Suleiman stressed that these efforts, assisted by UNIFIL and the Red Cross, would go on for 72 hours. He also rejected any claim that the crash was the result of an act of terror.
Thunderstorms raged through Beirut Sunday night, and residents living near the coast reported seeing the Boeing 737 catch fire and crash into the sea.
Ghazi Aridi, the public works and transportation minister, said the plane was carrying 90 people, including 83 passengers and seven crew members.
Aridi identified the passengers as 54 Lebanese, 22 Ethiopians, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Canadian of Lebanese origin, one Russian of Lebanese origin, a French woman and two Britons of Lebanese origin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report