Canadian ambassador visits Ethiopia Airlines crash site as many questions unanswered
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from London Bureau Chief Paul Workman
Published Friday, March 15, 2019 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 15, 2019 10:29PM EDT
When Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 crashed on Sunday and killed all 157 people on board, Paul Njuguna Njoroge lost his wife, his two children and his mother-in-law.
Five days later, the Kenyan man who recently emigrated to Canada said he feels “empty.”
“Everybody is asking me how I’m feeling. And I just feel lost. It’s not like I have any feeling in me at the moment,” he told CTV News’ Paul Workman in Ethiopia. “I feel empty.”
“That’s my life: my wife, my kids are my life.”
Njuguna Njoroge is among mourning family members from 35 countries still waiting for answers about the state of their loved ones’ remains. Searchers continue to scour a rubble-strewn field in rural Ethiopia by hand and using tractors.
Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Antoine Chevrier, visited the crash site for the first time on Friday and met with victims’ families. He said that, when it comes to identifying victims, officials are in the dark.
“The teams have started the work but we also understand that … process that has started is a complicated one and will take time,” he said.
Asked how long the search for human remains could take, Chevrier said officials have not received a timeline.
The wreckage has mostly been removed from the crash site, including flight recorders, which are being assessed in France. It’s unclear how long the analysis could take.
Officials have located some bodies but have yet to inform families. With nothing to bury, some families have resorted to scooping up handfuls of dirt in plastic bags.
According to a new report from The New York Times, the pilot used a “panicky voice” to request permission to return to the airport shortly after takeoff.
Several countries, including Canada, have responded to the tragedy by grounding their Boeing 737 Max 8 jets.