Anguished families of Ethiopian plane crash victims find nothing to bury

More families arrive at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people

More families arrived at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 14, 2019. (AP)

It was too much to bear. She feared she would have nothing of her loved one, no body, no remains to bury.

She took handfuls of dirt and flung it in her own face, overcome.

More families arrived on Thursday at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. They came with the hope that they could bring some trace of their loved ones home.

Some fell to their knees in grief when they learned there was nothing left. Others hurled themselves forward, wailing, or staggered in relatives’ arms.

The mourning was mixed with frustration. For some, their beliefs dictated they must have something to bury.

READ MORE: Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8 plane following fatal Ethiopian crash

“Big families, a lot of people and the full Israeli nation is waiting for these remains and we will not go out of Ethiopia until we find the remains to bury them,” said Moshi Biton of Israel, who lost his brother, Shimon Daniel Re’em Biton.

“Because if not, they will stay missing for the rest of the life and we cannot do that in our religion.”

Some Muslim families fretted. A body must be buried as soon as possible.

All gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The dead came from 35 countries.

Some families, including that of the flight’s senior pilot, Capt. Yared Getachew, came bearing large framed photographs of the dead. In one, a victim wore a graduate’s cap and gown, a source of immense pride.

Others arriving wore black T-shirts printed with a photo in remembrance. They held sticks of incense, the flames flaring in the wind.

One man held a tiny, torn scrap of document showing a photo of one of the dead.

In the background, searchers carrying large clear plastic bags continued to move slowly through the rubble, looking for more.

Some relatives at the scene expressed frustration, saying authorities were not sharing the information they badly needed.

An airline spokesman on Wednesday said some remains had been found and were in a freezer awaiting the forensic DNA work needed for identifications.

On Thursday it was no longer clear how long that work, once estimated at five days or more, would take. Israel’s consul to Ethiopia, Opher Dach, suggested the remains would be sent to a laboratory Britain.

The airline, overwhelmed with requests, announced it would take no more questions from reporters and would post any developments on social media and its website.

Even at an airline briefing for families in Addis Ababa some tearful relatives stormed out, demanding more.

Mulugeta Ayene And Cara Anna, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Miners dig up services of Vernon player

Ontario’s Red Lake Miners Junior A hockey club ink North Okanagan Knights forward Nic Bolin

UPDATE: Missing Kelowna teen located

Police are still looking to speak with the unidentified man she was spotted with

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant soccer ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Former Vernon psychologist disciplined

Complaint filed against Dr. Kevin Miller over conduct in context of treatment provided to client

Queen Silver Star tradition upheld despite COVID-19

Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Armstrong and Enderby youth can apply

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

Kelowna real estate agent fined $6,500 for ‘misleading’ website

The website listed several services its owner was not licensed to provide

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read