An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed just after takeoff, killing all 157 thought to be on board
As officials identify the 157 people killed when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday, family, friends and communities are sharing details about their lives.
Citizens of at least 35 countries died, the airline said, including eight Americans. The 4-month-old Boeing 737-8 MAX plane leaving Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, Kenya, carried 149 passengers and eight crew members. There were no survivors.
Some of the victims:
Cedric Asiavugwa, Georgetown Law student
A third-year law student at Georgetown, Asiavugwa was heading to Nairobi after his fiance’s mother died, the university said in a statement. Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, he studied international business and economic law.
Before going to Georgetown, the university said, he worked to support refugees in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“Beyond his many commitments and contributions, Cedric’s friends and faculty in this community remember him as a kind, compassionate and gentle soul, known for his beautifully warm and infectious smile,” the statement said.
Pius Adesanmi, Canadian professor
Adesanmi was on his way to meet with the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Nairobi, said John O. Oba, Nigeria’s representative to the panel. The professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, previously taught comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University.
“Pius was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Carleton’s president and vice chancellor.
Adesanmi won the the inaugural Penguin Prize for African non-fiction writing in 2010.
Joanna Toole, British United Nations worker
The 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was heading to Nairobi for the United Nations Environment Assembly. Her father described her as a “very soft and loving woman” and said she traveled to the remote Faroe Islands to prevent whaling.
Manuel Barange, the director of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations fisheries and aquaculture department, tweeted he was “profoundly sad and lost for words.”
Paolo Dieci, co-founder of an Italian NGO
Dieci helped found the International Committee for the Development of Peoples, a group that works with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund in Northern Africa.
“The world of international cooperation has lost one of its most brilliant advocates and Italian civil society has lost a precious point of reference,” the group wrote on its website.
Abiodun Oluremi Bashu, retired Nigerian ambassador
Contracted with the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa when he died, Bashu had served as secretary to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
He joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1976 and served in cities including Tehran, Iran, and Vienna, Austria. The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “prayed that the Almighty God grant his family and the nation, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Bashu’s son, Lekan Bashu, said in a Facebook post that his father spent his time working on nuclear non-proliferation, climate change, refugee work and many other causes.
Bashu described his father as an intelligent and fearless man who “made friends everywhere he went.”
“My father’s life was cut short today while still in his prime,” Lekan Bashu said in the post. “He was still very energetic, traveling as he had done for as long as I can remember. He was not old man by far.”
Michael Ryan, Irish aid worker, engineer
One of the seven victims with the United Nations’ World Food Programme, Ryan was believed to be married with two children.
He has worked on projects creating safe ground for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and assessing the damage to rural roads in Nepal blocked by landslides.
Family of Slovak lawmaker
Anton Hrnko, a legislator for the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party, said he was “in deep grief” over the loss of his wife, son and daughter. Their ages were not immediately available.
His son’s employer said he was traveling for a vacation in Kenya.
President Andrej Kiska offered his condolences to Hrnko.
Melvin and Bennett Riffel, brothers from California
The Riffel brothers of Redding, Calif., were on vacation, first visiting Australia and Mogadishu before traveling to Africa.
Melvin and his wife, Brittney, were expecting their first child this spring.
Jake Mangas, a friend of the Riffel family, said the brothers were enjoying their last trip before Melvin became a father.
Brittney Riffel joined the brothers for the first part of their vacation but returned home early, Mangas said.
“Our family is devastated for Ike and Susan (the brothers’ parents) and certainly for Melvin’s wife, Brittney,” Mangas said. “They are wonderful, faith-filled people and if there is any encouragement to me, it’s in this difficult circumstance, I know they are surrounded by a community that loves them very much.”
Contributing: David Benda, Redding Record Searchlight; Associated Press
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