In Summary
  • They cried the names of loved ones who had been aboard the jetliner that nose-dived into the field, leaving a dark scar in the soil but barely a trace of their existence.

  • Relatives began trickling to the site of the obliterated jet on Wednesday, some bussed in by Ethiopian Airlines, others on their own steam.

TULU FARA,

From a quiet farmland at the base of rolling hills outside Ethiopia's capital, the sound of wailing rang through the air.

Devastated mourners flung themselves onto a ground littered with business cards, seat covers and shards of aluminium.

They cried the names of loved ones who had been aboard the jetliner that nose-dived into the field, leaving a dark scar in the soil but barely a trace of their existence.

"You were to be married soon! Why would you die?" one woman cried into the void.

Boeing 737 MAX CRASH

Colleagues of victims of the UN's World Food Programme office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia hug as they visit the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at Hama Quntushele village in Oromia region, on March 14, 2019, four days after the plane crashed into a field killing 157 passengers and crew. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP

Only the rumble of bulldozers digging for remains deep into the soil, and the pop of flares fired by police to disperse circling crows, punctuated the sobbing.

BEREAVED

All 157 people on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 died when their Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed just six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on Sunday, heading for Nairobi.

Families from 35 countries were bereaved.

Relatives began trickling to the site of the obliterated jet on Wednesday, some bussed in by Ethiopian Airlines, others on their own steam.

The melting pot of mourners all grieved in their own way, some praying, others scooping soil from the ground, while some offered fruit or flowers.

Boeing 737 MAX aircraft CRASH

A grieving relative carries the picture of a victim at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at Hama Quntushele village in Oromia region, on March 14, 2019. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP

"Nobody expected this could happen to her. She loved her life," said Ethiopian Micky Kassa, whose cousin Mygenet Worku, 28, was flying to attend a UN environment conference in Nairobi.

"She has an old mother who raised her as a single parent. It's very sad news," he told AFP.

CRASH

For Ethiopians, the crash is a national tragedy, and even people untouched by the disaster made the trek to the remote site to pay their respects.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa's largest carrier and in many ways the international face of the country.

The country lost nine passengers and eight crew in the disaster.

 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crash

Distraught relatives react at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at Hama Quntushele village in Oromia region, on March 14, 2019, four days after the plane crashed into a field killing 157 passengers and crew. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP

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