Ethiopians Hold Traditional Memorial for Plane Crash Victims


Ethiopians paid a traditional memorial tribute to honor victims of a plane crash that killed all 157 people aboard.

The traditional memorial service, which was held late Friday according to the East African country’s traditions that remember deceased people on the 12th day of passing, paid tribute to the victims of the crash. The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia on March 10.

“The memorial service, led by local religious fathers and community elders, marks the deep compassion and heartfelt condolences of Ethiopians, sharing the grief of all humans,” an Ethiopian Airlines Group statement released late Friday read.

According to Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, the traditional memorial service by local residents “is such a compassionate gesture which highlights the unique deep rooted love and affection of Ethiopians, and consoles all hearts grieving for the lives lost in the accident.”

“I am deeply touched by the commemoration the local residents observed in their own initiative. I would like to thank all the local residents for their extraordinary compassion and solidarity with the families and loved ones of the deceased and the entire world,” the statement quoted Gebremariam as saying.

Last Sunday, relatives of victims and thousands of others gathered at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, where relatives attended funeral services in accordance with Ethiopian Orthodox church traditions. The memorial event came amid difficulties to provide victims’ bodies to their loved ones due to the devastating nature of the crash.

It was reported that grieving family members were given bags of soil taken from the crash site, The Ethiopian Federal Police is now taking full control of the human remains recovered from the crash site and Blake Emergency Services, a British-based organization, has been assigned to help with the DNA identification process, Gebremariam said.

“It’s going to take a very long period of time,” he said.

The airlines on Thursday rejected a recent reporting that the pilot on a crashed Max 8 plane did not receive training, describing it as “incorrect and irresponsible.” Ethiopia’s flag carrier stressed that such reports are untrue and irresponsible, with possible impact on the ongoing investigation procedures.

“We urge all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation,” an Ethiopian airlines statement read.

The Ethiopian airlines plane crash was the second such accident in about five months which involved the MAX 8 model. In October last year, a Lion Air flight of the same model crashed in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board. The French air accident authority BEA, which is investigating the crashed plane’s black boxes, also recently revealed that it had found “clear similarities” between the doomed jet and Lion Air flight.

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