Mass funeral service held for Ethiopian crash victims

Mass funeral service held for Ethiopian crash victims.
Mass funeral service held for Ethiopian crash victims. Jemal Countess/Getty Images. 

Thousands of people have mourned victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash, as 17 empty caskets draped in the national flag were accompanied through the streets of the capital, Addis Ababa, amid emotional scenes.

 Relatives, friends, and colleagues of the 157 people killed when the plane crashed on 10 March lit candles and held prayers during the service. The identification of some remains of crash victims could take weeks or months, according to experts.

In Addis Ababa, mourners have sat in tents all week to receive visitors, in keeping with Ethiopian tradition. At the memorial, priests chanted a prayer for the departed. The patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, Abune Mathias, called out the names of the nine Ethiopian passengers and seven airline employees — including the captain, Yared Getachew, 29 — whose lives were being honored.

“This is so the families and friends can accept the end, so they can move on,” said Samson Seyoum, 49, a humanitarian worker who had lost his friend of two decades, Getnet Alemayehu, in the crash. Mr. Getnet, who worked for the charity Christian Relief Services, had been flying to Nairobi, Kenya, for a training course when he died.

A separate memorial was held at a Muslim burial site for the co-pilot, Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur.

Later, while the empty coffins were lowered into the ground at the church, the captain’s father, a dentist, muttered words of encouragement to other pilots who had come to offer their condolences. He looked dazed. His private grief had become a public fixture.

The Guardian

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