Man loses 6 of family in Ethiopia air crash as fun trip turns into tragedy
12 Mar 2019
Women mourn during a memorial ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AFP
OTTAWA: An Indian-origin man has lost six of his family members in the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed all 157 people on board.
The victims were identified as Pannagesh Vaidya, 73; his wife Hansini Vaidya, 67; their daughter Kosha Vaidya, 37; her husband Prerit Dixit, 45; and their two children - Anushka and Ashka, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was quoted as saying by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
The family, all living in Canada, was headed for a "fun trip" to Kenya. Pannagesh Vaidya and Hansini Vaidya were Indian nationals.
Manant Vaidya, the brother of Kosha Vaidya, said he dropped off the family at Pearson International Airport on Saturday morning - what would be the second-last day of their lives.
"It's a huge tragedy. I lost my parents, I lost my sister. I don't have anyone else now," he said.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 - flight ET 302 - en route from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to the Kenyan capital Nairobi crashed six minutes after take off on Sunday. It ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, some 60 km southeast of Addis Ababa.
"This is an unbelievably tragic situation for this family," Brown said in a statement.
"As more details become known, I will provide a further update on how Brampton residents can assist this family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of sorrow and reflection."
Manant Vaidya said that his sister Kosha, who became a Canadian permanent resident in 2003, wanted to take her children to Nairobi to show them her birthplace.
"They thought March break was the perfect time for them to go over there, have fun. It was going to be a really great trip for everybody."
Manant Vaidya said his parents insisted that they also wanted to go on the trip. "I asked my dad why he wanted to go and he told me that in his life he wants to go one more time."
He said his brother-in-law was working seven days a week in order to pay for the trip.
The Indian Embassy in Ethiopia on Sunday said that four Indian nationals were killed and they were identified as Pannagesh Vaidya, Hansini Vaidya, Nukavarapu Manisha, a doctor based in the US, and Shikha Garg, the United Nations Development Programme consultant attached with the Environment Ministry.
Ethiopian Airlines said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by 18 Canadians, 9 Ethiopians, 9 Britons, then Italy, China, and the US with eight each.
There were seven French citizens, six Egyptians, five Germans, and four people from Slovakia on board.
Indo-Asian News Service