Olive tree with soil from Ethiopia crash site unites mourners

By Jason Neely ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Families and friends grieving the victims of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 gathered for a tearful ceremony in Addis Ababa on Tuesday to unveil a plaque and plant an olive tree with soil from the crash site. Citizens of 35 countries were lost on March 10 when the flight, just six minutes into the blue skies near the capital, plunged to the ground, killing all 157 aboard.

Reuters March 27, 2019 00:09:57 IST
Olive tree with soil from Ethiopia crash site unites mourners

Olive tree with soil from Ethiopia crash site unites mourners

By Jason Neely

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Families and friends grieving the victims of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 gathered for a tearful ceremony in Addis Ababa on Tuesday to unveil a plaque and plant an olive tree with soil from the crash site.

Citizens of 35 countries were lost on March 10 when the flight, just six minutes into the blue skies near the capital, plunged to the ground, killing all 157 aboard.

Kenya, Canada and Ethiopia suffered the biggest losses of life and their representatives and others joined about 100 relatives and friends at the memorial ceremony.

“Angela was a bright, compassionate, beautiful woman whose smile was infectious,” Roland Rehhorn from Canada said, describing his daughter, 24.

“In 2011 Angela fell in love with Kenya after being there for 14 days on a high school mission.

"This adventure helped shape Angela’s love of the wild, the planet, and the sea,” he said, before reading a poem dedicated to the conservationist, who was on the Nairobi-bound flight to attend a session of the U.N. Environment Assembly.

Ethiopia's transport ministry said on Tuesday a preliminary report into the crash was likely be released this week.

“We cannot imagine what you have been through ... we admire your courage and you need to know that we’re here and there for you not only right now but every step of the way,” Canada's ambassador to Ethiopia, Antoine Chevrier, told the gathering.

“We are planting an olive tree today. Why? Because olive trees are beautiful, they are also resilient, and represent peace and solidarity,” he said, before a black marble plaque honouring the dead was unveiled.

Mourners then took turns spreading soil removed from the crash site around a young olive tree in the Canadian embassy compound.

“It’s closure, but it’s definitely a process,” said Miriam, an academic from Addis Ababa University there to honour her 26-year-old nephew Sidrak.

Mahlet Hailu, permanent secretary at Ethiopia’s foreign ministry, said the government wished to assure those mourning it would “efficiently and effectively conduct follow-up in the aftermath of this tragic accident".

Families have been told it could take six months to properly identify remains of the 149 passengers and eight crew lost.

“While much has happened since March 10, there is of course much more that needs to be done,” Chevrier said.

(Reporting by Jason Neely; Editing by Mark Potter)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.