Fanu Getu, an Ethiopian village guard, still shivers when giving a narration of the horrific aftermath of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that crashed in his quiet farming village of Ejere, about 70 km east of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed on Sunday morning in the village, leaving all 157 people on board dead. The forceful crash also created a 13 meter-deep crater in the area. The plane which was travelling from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Kenyan capital Nairobi, crashed barely six minutes after takeoff.
Ethiopian authorities haven’t yet released a final report into what caused the plane crash but have confirmed the pilot of the doomed Boeing 737 Max 8 plane had radioed a distress call.
Speaking to Xinhua, Getu said it was his first time witnessing a plane crash and he was initially unsure about what to do first, but later overcame his shock to help emergency response teams retrieve debris from the destroyed plane. “I have collected body parts, pieces of the wreckage pieces and passengers’ belongings, which I later handed over to Ethiopian authorities,” said Getu. “I feel a deep sense of sorrow and pain with the plane crash. I wish strength and sympathy for victims’ families at this sad moment,” Getu said.
Getu wasn’t the only villager shaken by the airplane crash, the worst-ever air disaster for the national air carrier Ethiopian Airlines, which has a relatively good record when it comes to air safety. Gebeyehu Fekadu, another villager, vividly remembers the events before and after the tragedy on Sunday morning, which he admits will stay with him for the rest of his life. “The plane was swinging widely with smoke coming from its rear end just before it crashed.
The force of the crash created a big sandstorm, temporarily obscuring the crash site,” recalled Fekadu. “The plane crash I witnessed on Sunday has made me especially sad,” Fekadu said. With Ethiopia reeling from its worst plane crash in its history, the likes of Fekadu and Getu are hoping such tragedies will no longer happen in the future, and hope the Ethiopian government undertakes an exhaustive investigation into the incident.The Ethiopian government is already taking preventive measures by announcing on Monday its decision to indefinitely ground all its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.Also on Monday, Ethiopian Airlines announced it has found the flight data and voice recorders, potentially helping speed up the process to investigate the cause of the crash.