BRAMPTON, Canada: A family of six was among the 157 people who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday.
The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft “lost contact” six minutes after it took off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and came down outside the town of Bishoftu, killing everyone on board.
According to the flight manifest shared by Ethiopian Airlines, the passengers and crew members who died came from 35 countries, including 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians and four Indians.
Manant Vaidya’s father, Pannagesh Bhaskar Vaidya, 73, mother Hansini Pannagesh Vaidya, 67, were among those identified by India officials, according to a tweet by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
The rest were his sister Kosha Vaidya, 37, her husband Prerit Dixit, 45, and their children Ashka Dixit, 14, and Anushka Dixit, 13, all of whom live in Canada.
Kosha worked in the human resources department at the Canadian Hearing Society while Prerit worked as a lab assistant at Canada’s ministry of health, reporters reported. Anushka went to Centennial Senior Public School and Ashka went to Chinguacousy Secondary School.
Manant Vaidya told reporters in an interview that his family was headed for a “trip of a lifetime”.
His sister wanted to visit her birthplace while his father wanted to visit his friend, Manant said.
His parents had not visited the country in 35 years and had hoped to go on a safari during their trip, according to the report.
Manant and his wife Hiral, who live in a town called Brampton, said their father’s friend had called them about the crash.
“We went to the airport to confirm the news, and they have the list of the family members,” Hiral told reporters.
Manant recalled that his brother-in-law had done his homework before booking the flight, even studying the number of accidents the flight has had.
“So he did his homework. As you know, the flight he boarded was a brand new flight. It was just four months old and it was a new Boeing so it was really an unfortunate incident that this happened,” Manant said.
The couple, who are currently in contact with consular officials, said they might have to fly to Ethiopia to retrieve the family’s remains before they could perform a religious ceremony.
“I sincerely hope this is the last accident to happen and nobody suffers as we do,” Manant said.
“It’s a huge tragedy … she is the only sister I got. I lost my parents, I lost my sister, I don’t have anybody else,” he said.
In honour of the family, flags at the city hall in Brampton flew at half-mast, according to a tweet by City of Brampton on Tuesday.
Other family victims mourning for their families following the crash include Italian Valeria Patrizia Li Vigni, whose husband, archaeologist Sebastiano Tusa, 66, died in the crash, reported Corriere della Sera newspaper.
On Sunday, "the friends I met at mass said I shouldn't worry because bad news travels fast," she said.
"In the end it arrived anyway, and it destroyed my life. I felt the disaster coming ... He hadn't even wanted to go."
Slovak MP Anton Hrnko was also among the bereaved.
"It is with deep sorrow that I announce that my dear wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala, died in the air disaster in Addis Ababa this morning," he wrote on Facebook.