From Robert Trigaux - Tampa Bay.com
We've gotten used to Tampa undersea treasure hunting pro Odyssey Marine Exploration announcing new deep water finds of sunken ships and the potential for new riches to be salvaged.
So we were a bit surprised to read Odyssey's ongoing involvement in helping the government of Lebanon document the underwater crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409.
Flight 409 was a scheduled international flight from Beirut, Lebanon, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after take-off on Jan. 25, 2010, killing all 90 people on board.
Here's a New York Times account of the crash at the time. Odyssey says its Ocean Alert search vessel was nearby at the time, using the Beirut port for fuel and supplies while the company negotiated an agreement with Lebanon to partner in a deep-ocean project.
When Flight 409 crashed, Lebanese authorities asked Odyssey to assist in the search and recovery efforts. Before the plane wreckage was discovered, Odyssey's task was to help document the site. Odyssey says it has been paid $1.4 million for the work completed so far by the Lebanese government.
"We presently have a signed agreement with the insurance company to create a photomosaic of the entire area of wreckage and debris which we are commencing in August 2010," the company says.
Nice to see Odyssey can lend its underwater talents to such mercy missions. I'm sure this will not be the last time the company will be called on to assist in submerged tasks other than treasure hunting.
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