By Rahul Kalvapalle
National Online Journalist Global News
Sunday March 10, 2019
Citizens of 35 countries are among the 157 people killed in Sunday morning’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash outside the country’s capital Addis Ababa.
The passenger jet bound for the Kenyan capital Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off, killing everyone on board.
Kenya lost the most citizens in the tragedy, with 32. The Kenyan victims have all been identified, according to Kenyan newspaper The Standard.
Canada was second with 18 victims, according to Kenyan officials. Global Affairs Canada is yet to confirm that figure.
The victims also include nine Ethiopians; eight each from China, the United States and Italy; seven each from France and Britain; six from Egypt; five from Germany; four each from India and Slovakia; three each from Russia, Austria and Sweden and two each from Spain, Israel, Morocco and Poland.
Countries that lost one citizen were Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Serbia, Nigeria, Uganda, Togo, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Mozambique, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia and Nepal. One victim had a United Nations passport.
The identities of some of the victims began to emerge early Saturday afternoon.
Three members of Italian humanitarian organization Africa Tremila were on board the plane, according to the mayor of the northern Italian city of Bergamo, where the NGO is based.
Mayor Giorgio Gori said in a Facebook post that the president of the aid group, Carlo Spini, his wife and the treasurer, Matteo Ravasio, had been en route to South Sudan.
The foreign ministry says in all eight Italians were among the dead. They included the Sicilian regional assessor to the Culture Ministry, Sebastiano Tusa, according to the Sicilian regional president.
Austrian media reported that three doctors from the city of Linz were on board the plane.
A spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry said the doctors were between 30 and 40 years old and were travelling to Zanzibar for work.
Also among the dead are the wife, daughter and son of Slovak MP Anton Hrnko, a member of the ultra-nationalist Slovak National Party.
In a Facebook post, Hrnko said it was with “deep grief” that he was announcing that his wife Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala were among the 157 people killed.
President Andrej Kiska offered his condolences to Hrnko and the relatives of the fourth Slovak victim.
A prominent Kenyan soccer official is believed to be among the victims.
Hussein Swaleh, the former secretary general of the Kenyan soccer federation, was due to return home on the flight after working as the match commissioner in an African Champions League game in Egypt on Friday.
Kenyan soccer federation president Nick Mwendwa said Swaleh was one of the 32 Kenyan nationals on the flight. Mwendwa wrote on Twitter: “Sad day for football.”
The Russian Embassy in Ethiopia said three Russian tourists were killed.
Serbian media reported that the Serbian victim is a 54-year-old man who worked at the World Food Program
The plane likely was carrying people set to attend a major United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi — the UN Environment Assembly is set to begin on Monday in Kenya’s capital.
A Canadian delegation was expected to attend the conference but it’s not known if they were aboard the doomed aircraft, a government source confirmed to Global News.
Information about Canadian victims was not immediately available. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government is trying to get information from Ethiopian authorities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians in need of assistance to contact Global Affairs’ emergency assistance line.
Officials with Ethiopian Airlines said they had contacted the families of the victims.
— With files from the Associated Press and the Canadian Press