Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 November 2019

Ethiopian Airlines crash: Who were the victims?

The wife, son and daughter of a Slovak MP were among the 157 people from 33 countries who died

Delegates observe a minute of silence at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. Reuters
Delegates observe a minute of silence at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi. Reuters

Ethiopia was observing a national day of mourning on Monday, as the world paid tribute to the 157 people who died when a Nairobi-bound Boeing plane flown by its flag carrier crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Eight crew and 149 passengers from 33 countries died when flight ET302 ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, 60 kilometres south-east of Addis Ababa, on Sunday.

Among the dead were tourists, business travellers, and UN staff, including some who worked for the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency, the International Organisation for Migration, the World Bank and the UN Environment Agency.

Many were going to an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opened in Nairobi on Monday.

"Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board," tweeted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

African Union commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat spoke of "utter shock and immense sadness", while Mahboub Maalim, executive secretary of the eight-nation East African bloc Igad said the region and the world were in mourning.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British leader Theresa May described the news as "devastating".

Messages also came from the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Germany, France and the US.

The airline said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia nine, then Italy, China, and the US with eight each.

Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six and Germany five, although the breakdown was not final. France's government later said there were eight French victims.

There were also three people each from Austria, Sweden and Russia. There were two each from Israel, Morocco, Spain and Poland on the flight. There was one passenger each from Ireland, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Belgium, Indonesia, Somalia, Norway, Serbia, Togo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria and Yemen.

One passenger was travelling on a UN passport.

Wife, son, daughter dead

Slovak MP Anton Hrnko was among the bereaved.

"It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning," Mr Hrnko wrote on Facebook.

"Those who knew them, pay them quiet tribute".

UN personnel

World Food Programme director David Beasley, who confirmed seven of his staff had died, said: "As we mourn, let us reflect that each of these WFP colleagues were willing to travel and work far from their homes and loved ones to help make the world a better place to live."

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, did not confirm the number of colleagues among the dead but said his agency had suffered a "huge loss".

Establishing the exact number of UN personnel on the flight was complicated by the fact that some had informed the organisation of their travel plans while others had not, and not all were using their UN passports to travel.

Joanna Toole

The environmental campaigner from Devon was the first British victim named. She worked for the fisheries and aquaculture department of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome.

Department director Manuel Barange paid tribute on Twitter to a "wonderful human being who loved her work with a passion".

Toole's father Adrian said her work was not a job, but a vocation.

"She had never really wanted to do anything else but work in animal welfare since she was a child,' he said.

"Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did. We’re still in a state of shock.

"Somehow, that work took her into the international sphere and for the last 15 years she has been working for international animal welfare organisations.

"That involves a lot of travelling around the world, although personally I never wanted her to be on a single one of those planes."

Michael Ryan

Irish father of two Michael Ryan, who lived in Cork but was originally from County Clare, was an aid worker and engineer with the World Food Programme.

Ryan's projects have included creating safe ground for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and assessing the damage to rural roads that were blocked by landslides in Nepal.

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute on Twitter:

Abiodun Oluremi Bashu

Retired Nigerian ambassador Abiodun Oluremi Bashu's death was confirmed by the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He had served in different capacities both at headquarters and on foreign missions in Vienna, Austria, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and Tehran, Iran.

Bashu was on contract with the UN Economic Commission of Africa.

Canadian professor

Pius Adesanmi, a professor and the director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, was also among those who died.

Carleton University's president and vice chancellor, Benoit-Antoine Bacon said the entire university was grieving:

The author of Naija No Dey Carry Last, a collection of satirical essays, Adesanmi had degrees from Ilorin and Ibadan universities in Nigeria, and the University of British Columbia. Adesanmi was the winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African non-fiction writing in 2010.

French Tunisian youth leader

French Tunisian Karim Saafi, the co-chairman of the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe, was among the victims.

“Karim’s smile, his charming and generous personality, eternal positivity and his noble contribution to youth employment, diaspora engagement and Africa’s socio-economic development will never be forgotten,” a Facebook post on the group's page read. “Brother Karim, we’ll keep you in our prayers.”

Pilot and crew

The pilot was named as Capt Yared Getachew. He had logged more than 8,000 flight hours, according to Ethiopian Airlines.

First officer Ahmed Nur Mohammod had reached about 200 flight hours.

Updated: March 12, 2019 04:09 AM

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