Clothing lies on the ground at the crash scene of an Ethiopian Airlines flight crash near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, March 11, 2019. A spokesman says Ethiopian Airlines has grounded all its Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as a safety precaution, following the crash Sunday, of one of its planes in which 157 people are known to have died.(AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

A shredded book, a passport: What 157 victims left behind

At least 21 U.N. staffers were killed along with an unknown number of people who had worked closely with the world body

What little was left was heartbreaking: A battered passport. A shredded book. Business cards in many languages.

Searchers in white gloves and canvas shoes picked their way through the scattered remains of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 for a second day on Monday, gingerly lifting from the scorched earth the pieces of 157 lives.

The tattered book, its pages singed, appeared to be about macroeconomics, its passages highlighted by a careful reader in yellow and pink.

There was a shattered keyboard. And playfully printed T-shirts.

There was even a plaintively ringing mobile phone, picked up by a stranger and silenced.

The dead came from 35 countries. As their identities slowly emerged from shocked families, governments and employers, a common strand became clear.

The flight that set off Sunday morning from Ethiopia’s capital, faltered and plowed into the earth six minutes later was full of people unafraid to take on the world and its problems — and explore it, too.

The plane held 32 people from neighbouring Kenya, including a law student and a football official, a toll that left the country numb. Ethiopia lost 18 lives.

Others came from afar, to work or play: A satirist. A former ambassador. Tourists. An accountant.

But the number of humanitarian workers was shockingly high.

There were doctors. A child protection worker. Advocates. Environmental activists.

They carried high ideals obscured by mundane, bureaucratic names: Briefing papers. Capacity-building initiatives.

Addis Ababa and the plane’s destination, Nairobi, are popular hubs for aid workers addressing some of the world’s most pressing crises: Somalia. South Sudan. Climate change. Hunger.

“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 United Nations secretary-general said.

READ MORE: B.C. man among Ethiopian Airlines crash victims

READ MORE: Canadians mourn as victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash identified

At least 21 U.N. staffers were killed, he said, along with an unknown number of people who had worked closely with the world body.

The U.N. flag flew at half-staff on Monday, and Ethiopia marked a day of mourning for all.

Save the Children. The Norwegian Refugee Agency. The Red Cross of Norway. The International Committee for the Development of Peoples. The African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe.

All mourned their colleagues.

A steady wind blew on Monday as more remains were found, flashes of humanity among the gritty pieces of hull and wheel.

Beyond the yellow tape around the crash site, huddled figures wrapped in blankets watched in silence.

___

Anna reported from Johannesburg.

___

Yidnek Kirubel And Cara Anna, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP charge Langley man in connection with boat collision on Cultus Lake

A 67-year-old man allegedly operated a motor boat that collided with a woman paddling a canoe

UPDATE: Sts’ailes FSR Fire ‘being held’ at 12 hectares

Status changed from ‘out of control’ on Wednesday afternoon

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Former high-stakes poker player from Mission missing in Nevada

Brad Booth last seen on July 13, told roommate he was going camping

Health Canada recalling more than 50 hand sanitizers in evolving list

Organization says to stop using products listed, and to consult a health-care professional

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Most Read