Grieving relatives arrive in Addis Ababa after plane tragedy

Grieving relatives arrive in Addis Ababa after plane tragedy

Grieving relatives arrive in Addis Ababa after plane tragedy

Written by Reuters

13 Mar, 2019 | 3:13 pm

Reuters: Grieving relatives and friends of the victims killed in Sunday’s tragic air disaster in Ethiopia have been arriving in Addis Ababa as the investigation into the accident continues.

The Ethiopian Airlines aircraft departed Addis Ababa Bole International Airport at 08:38 local time and was scheduled to arrive in Kenya’s Nairobi at 10:25. However, the plane lost contact at 08:44 and then crashed near the town of Bishoftu.

All 149 passengers and eight crew members on-board the plane were confirmed dead.

Mishal Shimon flew in from Israel when he heard the news about his friend and colleague Avraham Matzliah, who was one of two Israelis killed in the plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.

“He was an excellent guy, a very warm guy, smiling and optimistic. This is a pity he lost his life in this way,” he said.

Shimon is still waiting for information from the Ethiopian government on how long it will take to identify the remains of his friend so he can be offered a burial.

“I am urging the Ethiopian government to identify as much as possible the bodies, the pieces and to bring [Avraham back] to Israel,” he said.

The new Ethiopian Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa is where many relatives have been put up by the airline, with mourners sitting in groups according to their nationalities awaiting further information.

In another room in the hotel, Kenyan government officials have been consulting with the Ethiopian minister of transport to establish how the investigation is proceeding, as it waits for the remains of its 32 citizens who perished in the crash.

Rescue professionals from Israel’s ZAKA organization, which only just concluded rescue work in Brazil after the deadly dam collapse in Minas Gerais in late January, are heading to the crash site to assist the Ethiopian authorities comb the area for any clues.

“These are volunteers that are specifically professional people in finding body parts and connecting them to the personnel. They have been all over the world. This organization, ZAKA, is volunteering all over the world, they just, not long ago, came back from Brazil,” said Opher Dach, a consul for Israel’s embassy in Ethiopia.

As investigations go on, more relatives are expected to arrive in Ethiopia where they will be expecting regular updates on the status of the remains of their loved ones.

Several aviation authorities and airlines around the world have now grounded the Boeing 737 Max aircraft which was involved in the tragedy, citing safety concerns.

As of Wednesday, many countries including Ethiopia, China, Indonesia, Singapore, UK and Germany have banned all use of Boeing 737 Max 8.

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