Families of Ethiopian Air crash victims cope with grief

It has been a week since the fatal plane crash claimed 157 lives.

News of the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max 8 ET-302 Flight that crashed just six minutes after takeoff from the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport last Sunday took the whole world by storm.

The fact that the accident involved people from 35 countries -- with Kenya being the worst hit -- made the news circulate far and wide.

Africans, Europeans, Americans, and Asians met their tragic fate and the whole world mourned; but to the families of the victims the devastation cannot be expressed in words.

On a Friday morning at the site of the crash, people from numerous nations are heard wailing their hearts out.

A Chinese victim's parents are among the mourners weeping under a searing sun at a rural locality near the central town of Bushoftu, 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of the capital Addis Ababa.

"I believe now," says Chu, 'My boy is gone and gone forever."

"May God take him in his hands," he said.

The mother said: "All our way from China to Addis Ababa and on our ride here, my heart was racing. Now that I have seen it all with my own eyes, the beating of my heart just came to normal. God be with him."

A whole week of excavating for bodies and experts combing for shreds of evidence did not yield much to bring identifiable human bodies. The plane crashed on the ground and exploded, according to eye witnesses, making the prospect of collecting remains a very difficult, if not an impossible, task.

Search teams pick up tiny parts of human bodies, which they stash in black plastic bags -- a difficult reality that prompted the father of the pilot of the doomed plane to say he would rather see a monument erected for his son and all the other victims at the site of the accident, because he realized he would not receive a body to carry back home for burial.

It is a heart rending sight to see many members of the victims' families scooping up handfuls of earth from the crash site to take back home.

Julius Gathumbi, who is the husband of professor Agnes Gathumbi who was on board the ill-fated flight, told Anadolu Agency: "I never expected this to be her destiny."

"She was such a kind hearted woman," he said.

The cause of the accident, which the CEO of the Ethiopian Airlines, said was much similar to the Malaysia accident involving the same type of plane, is yet to be determined.

It led to an international ban-at least temporarily until the cause is known-on the Boeing 737-Max 8 and 9 types causing the plane maker to lose heavily in the stock market.

The black box has been flown to France for expert analysis and the work has begun, according to Ethiopian Airlines.

Knowing the cause may have a significance in reducing future flight risks, but to the victims' families and friends consolation can only come from God.

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