An Italian aid organization co-founder, the family members of a Slovakian MP, a Nigerian professor, a British woman working with Kenyan fishermen, and a prominent Kenyan soccer official were among the first victims named in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that took the lives of 157 people, including 149 passengers, on March 10, 2019.
People from 35 countries were on board the doomed flight, and eight Americans were listed among the dead. The cause of the crash is not yet known. The plane is the same Boeing model as a Lion Air flight that also crashed shortly after takeoff last year, causing mass casualties.
“As I said, it is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time,” the CEO of the airline said in a press conference. The plane crashed six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on its way to Nairobi. It was a new Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Here are the victims’ names released so far:
Paolo Dieci was named as one of the victims. He was the co-founder of The International Committee for the Development of Peoples or CISP. According to the Associated Press, that is an “Italian aid group that partners with UNICEF in northern Africa.” In a statement, that group said, “the world of international cooperation has lost one of its most brilliant advocates and Italian civil society has lost a precious point of reference.”
Paolo Dieci was described by those who knew him as “man of great value.” A woman who knew him wrote, “#EthiopianAirlinesTragedy SAD LOSS FOR ITALY My heart is with families of victims in particular of the Italians who make Italy proud, amongst them #PaoloDieci president Link2007 a person motivated by great values engaged in intl cooperation.”
Wrote on person in Italian on Twitter: “You were with us yesterday. You have given us levers on a world, that of good, continually the victim of false narratives and real lies. Then you flew to Africa to keep doing well. You’re in heaven now. Rest in peace, Paul #Dieci. We have no words.”
Another person wrote, “#PaoloDieci It was not only a reference point in cooperation but a constant stimulus for many volunteers and humanitarian workers. The best way to honor their memory and to remember and repropose those values to which he has devoted most of his life. #EthiopianAirlines.”
Tributes flowed in for Hussein Swaleh, who was the former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) Secretary General.
The head of Kenya Football Federation wrote on Twitter, “Sad day for football. You were doing what you loved most. Fare thee well my chairman. Until we meet again.”
According to Daily Nation, Swaleh “was returning from Caf Champions League match pitting Egyptian side Ismailia and DRC’s TP Mazembe played on Friday in Cairo,” and he was the match commander there.
Wrote one man in tribute on Twitter, “A sad day for Kenya. We lost 32 of our compatriots in the ET302 crash. The hardest for me is Hussein Swaleh, a football administrator who rushed to catch the flight to make it to a family gathering. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families.” A Kenyan football journalist wrote on Twitter, “Hussein Swaleh was the Kenyan FA Secretary General when Kenya last qualified for Afcon 2004. He was one of the longest serving football administrators.”
Cedric Asiavugwa, a Kenyan-born Georgetown student, also died in the crash.
Cedric was “a third-year student at Georgetown Law, a member of Georgetown University’s Campus Ministry and Residential Minister on the second floor of New South,” an ABC 7 journalist wrote on Twitter.
He was flying to Kenya because his fiancee’s mother had died.
Kristen Clarke wrote on Twitter, “Cedric was a third-year at Georgetown Law. He was a dedicated champion of social justice across East Africa. He founded an organization that helped women and children fleeing the war in Somalia.”
Blanka, Martin and Michala Hrnko
Anton Hrnko, a Slovakian MP, confirmed in a social media post that his wife, Blanka Hrnko, and children Martin and Michala, were on the doomed flight. “Who knew them, give them a quiet memory,” he wrote.
Karim Saafi was named as one of the dead. According to the BBC, he was “co-chair of the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (ADYFE).” The organization announced his death on Facebook, writing, “It is with deep sorrow that we announce today that we have received the sad confirmation that our co-chairperson and foremost brother, Mr. Karim Saafi, was on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 which crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa. Karim was on an official mission representing ADYFE at a meeting with the African Union in Nairobi.”
The message continued: “Karim’s smile, his charming and generous personality, eternal positivity, and his noble contribution to Youth employment, diaspora engagement and Africa’s socio-economic development will never be forgotten. We would like the express our sincere condolences to Karim’s family and fiancée Fadwa. Brother Karim, we’ll keep you in our prayers.”
Jonathan Seex was CEO of Tamarind Group. The group, which runs restaurants and other establishments in Africa, posted a tribute to Seex on Facebook.
Shahaad Abdishakur was the Somalia Prime Minister’s protocol officer. A Somalia radio station reported he was on the plane.
Joanna Toole was one of the British victims on the flight. She was “travelling alone for her work with the United Nations,” according to Devon Live. </a
According to the news site, Joanna Toole worked for the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation and lived in Rome. "She was on her way to Kenya to conduct a workshop with Kenyan fisherman on the marking of fishing nets as a method of reducing marine debris," the site reported.
Sahara Reporters described Pius Adesanmi as a “popular Nigerian professor and columnist based in Canada.” The site reported that he was a Professor of English at Carleton University. He was called a “prodigiously brilliant gentleman” and “a great son of Africa” in one tribute.
“The world has lost a fine intellectual, one of a rare breed of thinkers and good governance advocate. It’s confirmed, people, we lost Professor Pius Adesanmi in that Ethiopian Airlines crash. ?” wrote one woman in tribute. A journalist wrote on Twitter, “I just got information that Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian professor with Carlton University in Canada is among those that died this morning on the ill fated Ethiopia airline. On his way to attend the AU ECOSOCC committee meeting in Nairobi. RIP.”
Michael Ryan was from Ireland. According to the Journal, he “worked for the United Nations’ World Food Programme.” Senator Michael Conway wrote on Twitter, “Deeply saddened at news of the death of Michael Ryan from Lahinch one of the 157 on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane. Michael worked with the UN on the World Food Programme helping the most vulnerable people on our planet. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Yared Getachew & Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur
Yared Getachew was the senior captain (head pilot) in charge of the plane. He had more than 8,000 flight hours, according to BBC. The first officer on board was named Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur.
Getachew was “born from Ethiopian and Kenyan parents, has been flying with Ethiopian Airlines since July 2010 and has a flight time of 8,231 hours. He became Boeing 737 captain in November 2017. The first officer named Ahmed Nur has a flight time of 200 hours,” according to The Reporter Ethiopia.
Ekaterina Polyakova, Alexander Polyakov and Sergei Vyalikov
The above were the names of the Russian victims on the flight. The Russian embassy announced their deaths in a Twitter post. “Ethiopian Airlines confirmed that on board its airliner #ET302, crashed near Addis Ababa, were three citizens of Russia:-Ekaterina Polakova-Alexander Polyakov-Sergei Vylikov,” the post reads.
Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and her daughter Safiya Faisal Ega, 5
Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and her daughter Safiya Faisal Ega, 5, were two of the Canadian victims on the plane. Amina leaves behind two other small children, according to CBC. They were from Edmonton.
Karoline Aadland is a Norwegian woman presumed lost in the crash. She was a Red Cross employee.
Joseph Waithaka had dual Kenyan and British nationality. BritsinKenya reported that he worked for a probation service and quoted his son as saying, “He helped so many people in Hull who had found themselves on the wrong side of the law.”
Carlo Spini, Gabriella Viggiani & Matteo Ravasio
Carlo Spini, his wife Viggiani, and Ravasio were among the Italian victims. They worked :for the Bergamo-based humanitarian agency Africa Tremila,” AP reported.
Abiodun Oluremi Bashua
According to AP, Bashua “was a retired career envoy who served in various capacities in Iran, Austria and Ivory Coast.” Dele Ovation wrote, “What a sad day… I’ve just been informed now that we lost one of our own. A high profile Nigerian, Amb. Abiodun Bashua in that crash… He was the former UN and AU Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan. A complete gentleman. May God rest his soul….”
Virginia Chimenti and Maria Pilar Buzzetti
Chimenti and Buzzetti were among the Italian victims.