Requiem mass for 157 Ethiopian plane crash victims to be held in Addis Ababa

The wreckage of the Ethiopian Airline that crashed on Sunday killing 157 people. (Maxwell Agwanda, Standard)
A requiem mass is scheduled for 6pm today in a Catholic Church in Addis Ababa for the 157 victims of the Sunday air crash.

Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel will preside over the mass at the Holy Saviour Church.

Ethiopian Authorities are planning the interdenominational service, on the backdrop of lingering questions that remain unanswered.

Further, many of the victims or their families do not profess to the Christian faith while the allowable period for last rites is only 24 hours for Jews and Muslims which is long expired.

Among the pending issues is how to the families will find closure for the remains of their loved ones, and if at all there would be any DNA analysis to identify the tiny body parts recovered so far.

Many of the 32 crash victims from Kenya are unlikely to be matched with their grieving families, with the desperation hitting home hard.

Only the well-off families of four victims had come forth, according to the Kenyan Embassy in Addis Ababa, while many more who might have wished to travel did not even have passports.

A few more families are expected in Addis Ababa this morning.

There were attempts to enable the family members to acquire travel documents from Nairobi, perhaps a little too late as their trip might come too late after the last formal sessions in Ethiopia.

However, the Ethiopian Airlines has pledged to offer facilitation to anyone willing to visit the crash site – including flight and accommodation in Addis.

It had become clear, for instance, by last evening that there would be no burial for the crash victims because the impact was severe.

Yared Mulugeta Gatechew, the captain of the ill-fated flight, had reported mechanical problems soon after taking off from the Bole International Airport before his plane crashed on his attempt to return which had been cleared by the control tower.

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