What we know about Canadian victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash
The eighteen Canadians among the 157 people killed when an Ethiopians Airlines plane crashed Sunday include a mother and daughter from Edmonton, a beloved professor at Carleton University in Ottawa and six family members from Brampton, Ont.
Here’s what we know about them:
Six members of the Dixit-Vaidya family
Kosha Vaidya, 37, and her husband Prerit Dixit, 45 were taking their 14-year-old daughter Ashka and 13-year-old daughter Anushka, to Nairobi, along with their parents, Pannagesh Vaidya, 73, and Hansini Vaidya, 67.
Manant Vaidya said that his sister Kosha was born in Kenya and she wanted to show her daughters where she had come from. The family also planned to go on safari, he said.
“They wanted to go and enjoy the animals and so forth, so with the March break this was a perfect opportunity to show them,” he told CTV Toronto.
- For more on the family, visit CTV Toronto
Vaidya said that his sister had worked in human resources for the Canadian Hearing Society and his brother-in-law was working for LifeLabs and the Ontario government.
Ashka and Anushka were both students in the Peel District School Board.
Manant said the girls were “brilliant in academics.” He said that Ashka was a talented singer while Anushka excelled at traditional Indian dance and computers.
He said that his parents were very healthy and always “taking care of me and the kids.”
Special education teacher Dawn Tanner
Dawn Tanner was the head of the special education department at Hagersville Secondary School in Hagersville, Ont., according to a statement from the Grand Erie District School Board.
- For more on Tanner, visit CTV Kitchener
The school board says Tanner joined the school in 2005 as a learning resource teacher and had aspirations of one day becoming a principal.
“We would like to express our deepest sympathies to Dawn’s family, her friends and everyone connected to this tragic loss,” the school board wrote in the statement.
Flags at the school were flown at half-mast on Tuesday in Tanner’s honour.
Cody French, Tanner’s son, wrote on Facebook that his mother was “the strongest woman I have known.”
“My mother was an extraordinary woman who had a positive impact on numerous individuals but none more than my brother and I,” he wrote in the post.
Jennifer Joseph, whose daughter was one Tanner’s students, told CTV Kitchener that Tanner always went out of her way to help.
“She had my daughter's interests at heart,” she said. “From what I saw, she was a very good teacher.”
Tanner also worked part-time as a homework helper at the Six Nations Polytechnic Homework Support Centre in Brantford, Ont.
Micah John Messent, B.C. government employee
Messent was a member of the Red River Metis Nation and the youngest of five siblings in a family from Courtenay, B.C.
The First Nations Leadership Council said that Messent graduated from Vancouver Island University and was planning to study law.
In the meantime, he was working for the B.C. government in Indigenous relations and spent his spare time sailing, according to the FNLC.
- For more on Messent, visit CTV Vancouver
Monica Phung, who knew Messent, called him energetic, enthusiastic, smart and driven. “He is so accomplished,” she said.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of BC Parks employee and recent Indigenous Youth Intern Micah Messent," B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement Monday. "Micah was committed to tackling the challenges he saw around him in the world, both in his work to protect the environment and to advance reconciliation."
A message posted Saturday to Messent’s Instagram account says that he was “stoked” to be heading to Kenya, where he would “have the chance to meet with other passionate youth and leaders from around the world and explore how we can tackle the biggest challenges that are facing our generation.”
“Im so grateful for this opportunity and want to thank all of the people in my life who have helped me get this far,” the post continues. “Wish me luck!”
Angela Rehhorn, staff member at Canadian Wildlife Federation
Rehhorn of Orillia, Ont. was on her way to the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi and to do volunteer work with the Canada Service Corps Program when she died in the crash, according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF). Rehhorn was a participant in the CFW’s Canadian Conservation Corps program.
The 24 year old attended Dalhousie University where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree and was working on a bat conservation project, according to the CWF.
- For more on Rehhorn, visit CTV Barrie
“She was especially interested in the marine environment and looked forward to expanding her experience in this area,” the CWF said in written statement.
“Angela shared the excitement and optimism of volunteering and working to improve our world,” said CWF CEO Rick Bates. “Her life is an inspiration to us all.”
Pius Adesanmi, Nigerian-born professor at Carleton University, age 47
The renowned professor was on his way to a meeting of the African Union's Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Nairobi, according to John O. Oba, Nigeria's representative to the panel.
Adesanmi was the author of "Naija No Dey Carry Last," a collection of satirical essays and had given a TEDx talk back in 2015 entitled, “Africa is the forward that the world needs to face.”
He was a professor in Carleton University's department of English Language and Literature and director of the Ottawa university's Institute of African Studies, according to its website. He had been a professor there since 2006.
- For more on Adesanmi, visit CTV Ottawa
Students who gathered to remember Adesanmi on Monday described him as a friend, mentor and father figure.
“He demanded more from you and wanted you to find pleasure in academia,” one of his pupils, Kennedy Aliu, told CTV Ottawa.
Adesanmi left behind two children and a grieving wife.
Adesanmi was the winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African non-fiction writing in 2010.
Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Carleton’s president and vice-chancellor, described him not only as a “person of integrity, of wholeness, of warmth” but also a "global thinker," and a "towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship."
He was also a former assistant professor of comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University. Adesanmi held degrees from Ilorin and Ibadan universities in Nigeria, and the University of British Columbia.
Amina Ibrahim Odowaa, 33, and her daughter Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir, 5
The Edmonton woman was travelling with her daughter to Kenya to visit their relatives.
Odowaa’s brother, Mohamed Hassan Ali of Toronto, said she had lots of friends and described her as a “very nice person, very outgoing, very friendly.”
The news has been hard on the family, with Ali telling CTV Edmonton, that “it’s such a tragic thing” and “so unexpected.”
“My hope was maybe she missed it and then she’s stuck at the airport waiting,” he added. “Never ever in our lifetime did we think she was going to go like that.”
- For more on the mother and daughter, visit CTV Edmonton
Ali said he’d planned to travel with the pair but had cancelled last week.
Odowaa’s other two children are being cared for by their grandmother.
A family friend told The Canadian Press that Odowaa has lived in Edmonton since 2006.
Derick Lwugi, accountant with the City of Calgary, age 53
Lwugi worked as an accountant with the city and was on his way to Kenya to visit both his and his wife’s parents who live in the west of the country.
His wife Gladys Kivia told The Canadian Press that his mother had not been feeling well.
“He is a man who loves peace. He's a man who loves people,” she told CTV Calgary when describing her husband, a former president of the Calgary-Kenya Association. “Whenever he knows someone has a problem or something, he was always the first one there.”
Lwugi leaves behind his wife Kivia, a domestic violence counsellor with the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter, and their three children aged 17, 19 and 20, all of whom live at home.
- For more on Lwugi, visit CTV Calgary
Prince Kivia, Derick's son, also told CTV Calgary that his dad was the best man he's ever known.
Lwugi had come to Canada in 2003 and sponsored his family to join him three years later. The family has lived in Calgary for 12 years.
Danielle Moore, 24, headed to UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi
CTV News Channel confirmed with her mother that her daughter Danielle had died in the plane crash.
When reached by phone, she said her daughter had wanted to be a hero but said, “I needed my own hero. I need my Danielle.”
On her Facebook page, Moore had posted on Saturday that she was “so excited” and “beyond privileged” to announce that she had been chosen to attend United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
On Twitter, she wrote she was looking forward to share with her followers what she’d learn at the conference.
Monica Phung, a friend of Moore's who worked with her through a conservation program, described her as "a light" that "always brought a goodness to everyone around her."
- For more on Moore, visit CTV Winnipeg
Moore was born in Toronto. She attended Dalhousie University in Halifax and then moved to Winnipeg, where she worked for the non-profit Canada Learning Code. Friends say she had planned to be a teacher.
Peter deMarsh, chair of the International Family Forestry Alliance
Taymouth, N.B. resident deMarsh was on his way to Nairobi to attend a workshop focused on helping family foresters access financing.
He was the chair of the International Family Forestry Alliance, a group dedicated to helping small forest owners around the world.
The Kenya Forest Service extended condolences to deMarsh’s family via Twitter, as did New Brunswick Green Party leader David Coon. According to Coon, deMarsh is survived by his wife Jean and son Luke.
- For more on deMarsh, visit CTV Atlantic
Rick Doucett, the president of the Federation of New Brunswick Woodlot Owners, knew deMarsh for 20 years and called him a “selfless man.”
“Everything he worked on was for the greater good. There was no pretense about it,” Doucett told CTV News Channel. “It was about what was good for the community.”
Doucett said that provincial tax changes that allow woodlot owners are part of deMarsh’s legacy.
“He worked very hard to get some tax changes put in place here in New Brunswick so that if you did take the time to manage your woodlot throughout your lifetime and then pass it on to your children, you didn’t get hit with this huge inheritance tax that caused your children to cut down your well-managed woodlot,” he said.
Family friend Genevieve MacRae told CTV Atlantic that deMarsh was warm, passionate and funny.
“He was incredibly passionate about the environment and the people that live in that environment,” she said.
Jessica Hyba, 43, employee of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees
Hyba was identified as one of the victims of the crash by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, where she was the senior external relations officer.
Kyle Matthews said that he met Hyba in 2001 when they both worked for CARE Canada, the Canadian branch of a worldwide humanitarian and development group.
"She was a very energetic person, a very positive person who tried to make a difference for people affected by war and persecution," Matthews said. "It's a real sad story."
- For more on Hyba, visit CTV Ottawa
Another friend told CTV Ottawa that her thoughts were with Hyba’s “two little girls.”
“I know that her attitude for life and her spirit for adventure will live on in all of us, inside our hearts,” the friend said.
Hyba’s told CTV Ottawa that “Jess was a humanitarian through and through, devoted her life to helping refugees, loved her job, worked very hard and was very happy.”
Darcy Belanger, founding member of Parvati.org
Belanger, 46, was headed to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi to spread the word about Parvati.org, a non-profit group dedicated to environmental sustainability that he helped found.
“Admired for his courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities, Darcy was a hero in every sense of the word,” reads a statement from the organization.
“He was passionately devoted to the protection of all life through the realization of MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary,” the statement goes on. “On March 10, 2019, he literally gave it his life.”
- For more on Belanger, visit CTV Edmonton
Belanger was dedicated to building awareness of melting polar ice, according to Parvati.org.
He also had a day job, working for the construction firm PCL. He formerly lived in Edmonton.
Stephanie Lacroix, United Nations Association of Canada employee
Sylvie Lamarche Lacroix of Timmins, Ont., told The Canadian Press that her 25-year-old daughter died in the crash.
Lacroix's LinkedIn profile says she was working with the United Nations Association in Canada.
Lacroix’s last Facebook post said that she was looking for people to consult on addressing the harms of single-use plastics, in order to inform the deliberations at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
- For more on Lacroix, visit CTV Ottawa
Gilles Lamarche said on Facebook that his “beautiful niece” died in the crash. He called her “a young beautiful servant leader, employed by the United Nations and living her dream of helping people after completing her degree in International Studies.”
“You left your mark without a doubt and made a BIG difference,” he wrote.
Nine-month-old Rubi Pauls and family
Nine-month-old Rubi Pauls was travelling to Kenya her mother, grandmother and two siblings to meet with relatives over Easter.
- For more on Rubi Pauls, visit CTV Toronto
Rubi is the only Canadian citizen in the family. Her 34-year-old mother Carolyne Karanja, her seven-year-old brother Ryan, and four-year-old sister Kerri are all permanent residents. They lived in a Hamilton-area apartment building.
Ann Wangui Karanja, Rubi’s 60-year-old grandmother, has also been identified as a victim of the crash.
“I miss those people,” Grace Mugambi, a family friend and neighbour, told CTV Toronto. “Carol was like my own daughter.”
“You would never see them quarrelling, or fighting the way children fight…they were so friendly and playing together all the time.”
Family friends say the father, Paul Njoroge, works in Bermuda and visits Canada often, but was not on the flight.
“I don't know how he's going to handle this but I just pray to God to give him strength,” Mugambi said.
Quindos Karanja, the grandfather in the family who lives in Kenya, told The Canadian Press he was looking forward to meeting his granddaughter for the first time.
"It's just hard to accept that this has happened," he said in a phone interview with the news wire. "I feel so much loss. And pain. I'm lonely."
Ameen Noormohamed, age 72
The Ismaili Centre in Toronto, a Muslim community organization, identified Noormohamed as was one of the victims.
The centre says Noormohamed lived in the Toronto area and that his family members are making funeral arrangements in Kenya.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press