Anguished families of Ethiopian plane crash victims find nothing to bury

More families arrive at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people

More families arrived at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 14, 2019. (AP)

It was too much to bear. She feared she would have nothing of her loved one, no body, no remains to bury.

She took handfuls of dirt and flung it in her own face, overcome.

More families arrived on Thursday at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. They came with the hope that they could bring some trace of their loved ones home.

Some fell to their knees in grief when they learned there was nothing left. Others hurled themselves forward, wailing, or staggered in relatives’ arms.

The mourning was mixed with frustration. For some, their beliefs dictated they must have something to bury.

READ MORE: Canada bans Boeing 737 Max 8 plane following fatal Ethiopian crash

“Big families, a lot of people and the full Israeli nation is waiting for these remains and we will not go out of Ethiopia until we find the remains to bury them,” said Moshi Biton of Israel, who lost his brother, Shimon Daniel Re’em Biton.

“Because if not, they will stay missing for the rest of the life and we cannot do that in our religion.”

Some Muslim families fretted. A body must be buried as soon as possible.

All gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. The dead came from 35 countries.

Some families, including that of the flight’s senior pilot, Capt. Yared Getachew, came bearing large framed photographs of the dead. In one, a victim wore a graduate’s cap and gown, a source of immense pride.

Others arriving wore black T-shirts printed with a photo in remembrance. They held sticks of incense, the flames flaring in the wind.

One man held a tiny, torn scrap of document showing a photo of one of the dead.

In the background, searchers carrying large clear plastic bags continued to move slowly through the rubble, looking for more.

Some relatives at the scene expressed frustration, saying authorities were not sharing the information they badly needed.

An airline spokesman on Wednesday said some remains had been found and were in a freezer awaiting the forensic DNA work needed for identifications.

On Thursday it was no longer clear how long that work, once estimated at five days or more, would take. Israel’s consul to Ethiopia, Opher Dach, suggested the remains would be sent to a laboratory Britain.

The airline, overwhelmed with requests, announced it would take no more questions from reporters and would post any developments on social media and its website.

Even at an airline briefing for families in Addis Ababa some tearful relatives stormed out, demanding more.

Mulugeta Ayene And Cara Anna, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in Surrey and Abbotsford

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
Seven youths from Surrey/White Rock were recognized at Thursday’s SASSY Awards. Top row from left: Joon Sohn, Samuel Albert, Sherry Sandhu and Abbie Dubet; bottom row from left: Amberlee Moore, Kristen Ricord, Anna McNicholl. (Contributed photo)
Seven Surrey/White Rock youth honoured at SASSY Awards

Annual event held virtually this year due to COVID-19 pandemic

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools report COVID-19 exposures, with another at Sullivan Heights

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Hay bales can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Straw bales used for Halloween decor can be donated to Critter Care Wildlife Society

Langley animal facility said they are always need in of fresh bedding

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Most Read