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Funeral ceremonies held for Ethiopian Airlines crash victims [Photos]

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Ceremonies have been held in Ethiopia and Kenya for the 157 victims of last week’s Ethiopia Airlines plane crash.

Relatives wept and threw themselves on the red coffins of the 12 Ethiopian victims at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Some of the coffins contained charred earth from the crash site because it has not been possible to recover the bodies.

Families have been told it could take up to six months to identify remains.

Ethiopian Airlines staff gathered at the city’s Bole International Airport to pay their respects to the crew on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight 302 to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Reuters news agency reports.

Coffins of Ethiopian passengers and crew who perished in the Ethiopian Airways ET302 crash are lined up during a memorial service at Selassie Church on March 17, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
GETTY IMAGES: There was a large crowd at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa
Relatives mourn next to the coffins of Ethiopian passengers and crew members, during a memorial service for the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Selassie Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 17, 2019.
REUTERS: Some relatives say they would only get full closure when at least some body parts are recovered

In Nairobi, relatives of some of the 36 Kenyan victims, and diplomats from some of the more than 30 countries whose citizens died in the crash, gathered to pay their respects at an Ethiopian Orthodox church in the city.

The BBC’s Ferdinand Omondi, who was at the ceremony, says there was a sombre mood as candles were lit and prayers held. Many worshippers were wearing white from head to toe.

Some relatives told our reporter that they would only get full closure when at least some body parts were handed over to them.

Families mourning the victims were offered a 1kg (2.2lbs) bag of charred soil to bury as part of Sunday’s service in the Ethiopian capital, AP news agency reports.

“The soil came as it became impossible to identify bodies and hand over remains to family members,” one family member reportedly said, adding: “We will not rest until we are given the real body or body parts of our loved ones.”

Ethiopian Airlines crew members attend a memorial service for the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Selassie Church in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 17, 2019
REUTERS: The Ethiopian victims include the eight crew – who were remembered by their colleagues
A mourner screams for a loved one who perished in the Ethiopian Airways ET302 during a memorial service at Selassie Church on March 17, 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
GETTY IMAGES: The cause of the crash is not yet known

Relatives of the passengers killed in the incident are being encouraged to provide DNA samples either in Addis Ababa or at any overseas offices of Ethiopian Airlines.

Death certificates are expected to be issued in two weeks.

‘Grief of the world’

Mourners at the Bole International Airport held white flowers, the traditional colour of mourning in Ethiopia.

“Our deep sorrow cannot bring them back,” an Orthodox priest wearing a black turban and robes told the crowd gathered outside an airport hangar.

“This is the grief of the world,” he said, as Ethiopian Airlines staff sobbed in each other’s arms, Reuters reports.

Countries across the world grounded the 737 Max 8 and 9 aircraft after the 10 March crash.

Ethiopia’s transport minister said on Saturday it may take “considerable time” for investigators to find the cause of the crash involving the new aeroplane.

“An investigation of such magnitude requires a careful analysis and considerable time to come up with something concrete,” Dagmawit Moges told a news conference.

Candles burn before a flower adorned memorial arch erected at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crash on March 14, 2019 in Ejere, Ethiopia.
GETTY IMAGES: This arch of flowers was erected at the crash site

The Ethiopian investigation into the crash is being assisted by teams from around the world, including the US and France.

The aircraft’s flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR), or black boxes as they are often called, have been recovered and investigators are hoping they will shed light on the tragedy.

 

Source: BBC

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