Ethiopia holds funerals for crash victims

Sunday March 17 2019

Coffins of victims of the crashed accident of

Coffins of victims of the crashed accident of Ethiopian Airlines during the mass funeral at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 17, 2019. The crash of Flight ET 302 minutes after take off to Nairobi on March 10 killed 157 people on board and caused the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft model involved in the disaster. PHOTO | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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Ethiopians Sunday held funerals for friends and relatives who perished in last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash, which killed all on board and saw the worldwide grounding of the Boeing aircraft involved.

Families in 35 nations were left bereaved when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft plummeted from the sky just minutes into its flight to Nairobi last Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board.

One week after the crash, relatives of the 17 Ethiopian victims gathered with hundreds of others at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, sobbing and holding portraits of their loved ones as an Ethiopian Orthodox priest said the last rites.

Doomed aircraft

"What I can't forget is that she left an eight-month-old child and didn't come back," said Meselech Petros, whose sister Amma Tesfamariam was a flight attendant on the doomed aircraft.

Her 28-year-old sister wasn't supposed to work that day, but had gone in to cover for a colleague.

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Caskets draped in the Ethiopian flag were brought to the cathedral in a convoy of black hearses accompanied by hundreds of mourners.

But it was not clear what the coffins contained.

Witnesses said the plane nose-dived into a field southeast of the capital, with the force of the impact leaving few bodies intact.

Her remains

On Thursday, as grieving families and friends visited the area where the plane went down, an AFP correspondent saw them being handed plastic water bottles filled with earth from the site.

Ethiopia's government has said it may take up to six months to identify the remains.

"What makes us very sad is we didn't find any of her remains," said Teshome Legesse, whose 24-year-old niece Ayantu Girma was a flight attendant on the plane.

Ethiopians Airlines is Africa's largest carrier and in many ways the international face of the nation.

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