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Prize-winning author, 21 UN workers among dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00


Clothing and personal effects from passengers are seen near the wreckage at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 11 March, 2019 - Reuters


NAIROBI (Reuters): A prize-winning author, a football official and a team of humanitarian workers were among those who perished in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 30, Government officials and employers said on Monday.

Sunday’s crash, minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa for a flight to Nairobi, inflicted a particularly heavy toll on the United Nations, which has large offices in both cities.

At least 21 staff members were on board, said Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman.

The Addis Ababa-Nairobi route is also popular with tourists and business people, who are drawn to East Africa’s popular safari parks and fast-growing economies.

The 157 victims, including 149 passengers and eight crew members, came from more than 30 countries, the airline said. They included 32 Kenyans, 18 Canadians, nine Ethiopians and eight each from Italy, China and the United States.

There were no survivors.

The number of UN staff members and aid workers from other agencies on board may have been higher than usual because of a week-long conference convened by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, which opened on Monday.

The dead included Joanna Toole, a British woman working as a fisheries consultant for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and Victor Tsang, a Hong Kong native who worked in Nairobi for the UNEP.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world body was in grief.

“Our colleagues were women and men – junior professionals and seasoned officials – hailing from all corners of the globe and with a wide array of expertise,” Guterres said. “They all had one thing in common – a spirit to serve the people of the world and to make it a better place for us all.”

The WFP said it had seven staff members on board. They included Michael Ryan, a 39-year-old engineer from Ireland.

Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born professor with the English Language and Literature Department at Carleton University in Ottawa, was among the victims from Canada.

He was awarded the Penguin Prize for African Writing in non-fiction in 2010 for a collection of essays titled ‘You’re Not a Country, Africa!’

The Italian victims included Sebastiano Tusa, an archaeologist and councillor for cultural affairs in the regional government of Sicily. He was travelling to Kenya for a UNESCO conference on protecting underwater cultural heritage in East Africa, according to Italian media reports.

Glato Kodjo, a professor of Botanical Studies at the University of Lomé in the West African nation of Togo, and two lecturers at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Agnes Kathumbi and Isaac Mwangi Minae, were also reported killed.

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