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

Officials looking for answers after Abbotsford football star found dead in Sask. lake

Saskatchewan Health Authority looking into circumstances surrounding Samwel Uko’s hospital visit

Abbotsford’s ‘virtual’ Canada Day event includes pet parade and entertainment

Month-long celebration also features cultural and family activities

Envision Financial, Coast Abbotsford team up for health care workers

Pair of organizations partner to provide free and discounted rooms for local workers during COVID-19

Potential for gravel removal this summer in Chilliwack has riled river stewards

Group says no ‘discernible merit’ for gravel mining when balanced off with the environmental damage

Gabriel Klein’s sentencing delayed until September

Man convicted of killing Abbotsford high school student Letisha Reimer was set for June

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

BREAKING: Langley Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35-year-old nightlife hotspot

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read