In a typical Sunday morning, Girma Lelissa and Kebebua Legesse escorted their daughter Ayantu Girma, 24, to an Ethiopian Airlines shuttle on her way to the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.

A couple of hours later, however, the unexpected occurred as Lelissa and Legesse were informed that an Ethiopian Airlines’ plane, carrying Ayantu, had crashed just 6 minutes after take off, leaving all the 157 people aboard dead.

Ayantu, one of the eight Ethiopia Airlines crew members aboard the crashed Boeing 737 Max 8 plane, had been a flight attendant at the Ethiopian Airlines Group for the past two years.

Mourning their second and last child at their home in Kality neighborhood on the outskirt of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Ayantu’s father Girma Lelissa told Xinhua on Thursday that “the death of our beloved and beautiful child is the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Now she is gone, I’ll never be the same.”

The tragic Nairobi-bound Ethiopian plane crashed near Bishoftu town, about 45 km from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa early Sunday, killing all the 149 passengers and 8 flight crew members.

The victims were of 35 nationalities, including 32 from Kenya, 18 from Canada, eight each from China, Italy and the United States, seven each from Britain and France, six from Egypt, and five from Germany, among others, according to the airline.

“The death of our daughter and other passengers has sent the nation into grief. But, as parents we are deeply devastated and heartbroken,” said Lelissa, as he described his daughter as “well-mannered and religious young girl.”

“This is certainly the worst thing that could ever happen to my family. Now she is gone, I’ll never be the same,” Lelissa said in grief.

“The various things she achieved at that early age also gave us the trust that many good things would come to her way in the near future.” he said.

“She was our hope in the family,” he said, adding “she was beautiful inside and outside, with good relationship with her family, friends, and colleagues.”

“Our grief is boundless,” Lelissa said as he tried to control his emotions, with eyes full of tears. “Her death is a loss not just to our family, but also to the entire nation.”

Her mother Legesse also shared her long-time husband’s grief, saying that her daughter “was a dreamer.”

“She was just 24. I didn’t believe the news that she is dead at first. How that could be true? Only after I saw the deep crater at the accident site that I started to realize my daughter might have died.”

“Even after seeing the accident place I had a faith that God will spare my daughter’s life.”

“Even though I have not yet received her body, my hope has almost gone now.” she said. Enditem


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