Ethiopia Airlines crash: Who were the victims?

The victims of flight ET 302 included 35 nationalities. Here are some of their stories.


As investigators sift through the remains of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet that went down on Sunday morning near Addis Ababa, more details have emerged about the 157 people on board who perished in the crash.

The victims of flight ET 302, which was en route to Nairobi, included 35 nationalities from across the world. Among them were 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and nine Ethiopians, with many involved in humanitarian work and heading to a United Nations environmental conference taking place in Kenya’s capital.

Here are some of their stories:

Kenya: 32 victims

  • Hussein Swaleh, the former secretary-general of the Football Kenya Federation, was named as being among the dead by Sofapaka Football Club. He was returning home on the flight after working as the match commissioner in an African Champions League game in Egypt on Friday.

  • Cedric Asiavugwa, who studied international business and economic law at Georgetown University in Washington, was on his way to Nairobi after the death of his fiancee’s mother, the university said in a statement. 

Georgetown University law student Cedric Asiavugwa [Bill Petros/Georgetown Law]
Georgetown University law student Cedric Asiavugwa [Bill Petros/Georgetown Law]

Canada: 18 victims

Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born professor with Carleton University in Ottawa, was on his way to a meeting of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Nairobi, Nigeria’s representative to the panel, John O Oba, told The Associated Press news agency.

In 2010, he was awarded the Penguin Prize for African Writing in non-fiction in 2010 for a collection of essays titled, “You’re Not a Country, Africa!”

“Pius Adesanmi was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship, and his sudden loss is a tragedy,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, the university’s president.

A fellow writer, the Nigerian satirist Elnathan John, said his friend had recently been injured in a car accident. He recalled hosting Adesanmi in Berlin recently.

“He was still limping a bit,” John said on Twitter. “He told me how lucky he was to survive his car crash. He loved his hotel. We laughed about dressing alike.”

  • Mohamed Hassan Ali confirmed that he had lost his sister and niece. Ali said his sister, Amina Ibrahim Odowaa, 33, and her five-year-old daughter, Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir, were on board the jet. He said his sister lived in Edmonton and was travelling to Kenya to visit relatives.

  • Derick Lwugi, an accountant with the City of Calgary, was also among the victims. He leaves behind three children, aged 17, 19 and 20. Lwugi had been headed to Kenya to visit both of their parents, according to AP.

Ethiopia: Nine victims

  • Catholic Relief Services said four of its Ethiopian staff members died. The aid group in a statement says Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku, and Mulusew Alemu had been travelling to Nairobi for training.

  • The aid group Save the Children said an Ethiopian colleague died in the crash. Tamirat Mulu Demessie was a technical adviser on child protection in emergencies and “worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable children are safe during humanitarian crises”, the charity said in a statement.

China: Eight victims

  • A statement from the Chinese embassy in Addis Ababa said the Chinese victims included five men and three women, including one person from Hong Kong.

  • Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said two UN workers were among the eight Chinese killed. Four were working for a Chinese company and two had travelled to Ethiopia for “private matters”.

Italy: Eight victims

  • Paolo Dieci, one of the founders of the International Committee for the Development of Peoples, was among the dead, the group said on its website.

Translation: Condolences for the aerial tragedy that took place a few hours ago in #Ethiopia.

Among the many victims [was] Paolo Dieci, president of the @CISPorg partner at UNICEF in Kenya Lebanon and Algeria.

Sebastiano Tusa, the Sicilian regional assessor to the Italian culture ministry, was en route to Nairobi when the plane crashed, according to Sicilian regional President Nello Musemeci. Tusa was also a noted underwater archaeologist.

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) confirmed that two of the Italian victims worked for the Rome-based UN agency. A WFP spokesperson identified the victims as Virginia Chimenti and Maria Pilar Buzzetti.

  • Three other Italians worked for the Bergamo-based humanitarian agency, Africa Tremila: – Carlo Spini, his wife, Gabriella Viggiani and the treasurer, Matteo Ravasio.

France: Seven victims

  • A group representing members of the African diaspora in Europe is mourning the loss of its co-chairperson and “foremost brother,” Karim Saafi. The 38-year-old French-Tunisian was on an official mission representing the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe, the group announced on its Facebook page.

  • Sarah Auffret, a French-British national living in Tromsoe, northern Norway, was on the plane, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators said. She was on the way to Nairobi to talk about a Cleans Seas project in connection with this week’s UN conference, the company said in a statement.

United Kingdom: Seven victims

  • Joanna Toole, a 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was also heading to Nairobi to attend the conference. Her father, Adrian, described her as a “very soft and loving” woman whose “work was not a job – it was her vocation”.

  • He told the DevonLive website that Toole used to keep homing pigeons and pet rats and travelled to the remote Faroe Islands to prevent whaling.

  • Joseph Waithaka, 55, lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, also died in the crash, his son told the Hull Daily Mail. Ben Kuria said his father had worked for the Probation Service, adding: “He helped so many people in Hull who had found themselves on the wrong side of the law.”

Germany: Five victims 

  • The UN migration agency said that one of its staffers, German citizen Anne-Katrin Feigl, was en route to a training course in Nairobi.

  • Reverend Norman Tendis was a long-time pastor in the protestant congregation of St Ruprecht in Villach, Austria. The World Council of Churches said he was travelling to a UN environment summit in Nairobi. The 51-year-old is survived by his wife and three children.

  • The German development aid organization GIZ said one of its staff was also on the plane. GIZ spokeswoman Tanja Stumpff said the woman was on a business trip. She declined to provide further details, citing privacy reasons.

Slovakia: Four victims 

  • Anton Hrnko, a legislator for the ultranationalist Slovak National Party, said he was “in deep grief” over the deaths of his wife, Blanka; son, Martin; and daughter, Michala. Their ages were not immediately available.

  • Martin Hrnko worked for the Bubo travel agency and was travelling on vacation to Kenya, the agency said.

Austria: Three victims

  • Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Peter Guschelbauer confirmed that three Austrian doctors in their early 30s were on board the flight. The men were on their way to Zanzibar, he said, but he could not confirm the purpose of their trip.

Russia: Three victims

  • The Russian embassy in Ethiopia said airline authorities had identified its deceased citizens as Yekaterina Polyakova, Alexander Polyakov and Sergei Vyalikov.

  • Russian news reports identified Polyakova and Polyakov as a married couple. State news agency RIA-Novosibirsk said the three were on a tourist trip.

Sweden: Three victims

  • Hospitality company Tamarind Group announced “with immense shock and grief” that its Chief Executive Jonathan Seex was among the fatalities.

  • The Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders, an international human rights group, said employee Josefin Ekermann, 30, was on board the plane. Ekermann, who worked to support human rights defenders, was on her way to meet Kenyan partner organisations. Anders L Pettersson, the group’s executive director, said, “Josefin was a highly appreciated and respected colleague”.

Poland: Two victims 

  • The foreign ministry said two victims were men and not related to each other. It did not disclose any further details, citing the need to respect privacy and the interest of the men’s families.

Ireland: One victim

  • Michael Ryan was among the WFP staff who were killed. The Rome-based aid worker and engineer known as Mick was thought to be married with two children, according to AP. His work projects included creating safe conditions for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and assessing the damage to rural roads in Nepal that were blocked by landslides.
  • His mother, Christine Ryan, told broadcaster RTE “he never wanted a 9 to 5 job. He put everything into his work.”
  • Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: “Michael was doing life-changing work in Africa with the World Food Programme.”

Norway: One victim 

  • Norwegian Red Cross Finance coordinator Karoline Aadland was among the victims. 

Nigeria: One victim

  • The Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it received the news of retired Ambassador Abiodun Oluremi Bashu‘s death “with great shock”.
  • Bashu was born in Ibadan in 1951 and joined the Nigerian Foreign Service in 1976. He had served in different capacities both at headquarters and abroad, including in Austria, Ivory Coast and Iran. He also served as secretary to the Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • At the time of his death, Bashu was on contract with the UN Economic Commission of Africa.
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies