Eighteen Canadians were killed when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 aboard. CTV News has confirmed victims included an Edmonton mother and daughter visiting relatives, a Carleton University professor and a Calgary accountant and father.
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply saddened” by news of the crash, adding he’d reached out to leaders in Kenya and Ethiopia. “On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost family, friends, and loved ones.”
On Twitter, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer offered his “deepest condolences” to the affected families and was “devastated by the news.” NDP Jagmeet Singh tweeted that his thoughts were with the families and loved ones “who are going through so much pain right now.”
It’s not yet clear what caused the Ethiopian Airlines plane to go down in clear weather six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya.
The Ethiopian pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return to the airport in Addis Ababa, the airline’s CEO said. The airline will soon conduct forensic investigations to identify the 149 passengers and eight crew.
At least 35 nationalities were among the dead, including 32 Kenyans, and people from China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Israel, India and Somalia.
Here is what we know so far about the Canadians who died:
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Pius Adesanmi, Nigerian-born professor at Carleton University
The renowned professor was on his way to a meeting of the African Union’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council in Nairobi, according to John O. Oba, Nigeria’s representative to the panel.
Adesanmi was the author of “Naija No Dey Carry Last,” a collection of satirical essays and had given a TEDx talk back in 2015 entitled, “Africa is the forward that the world needs to face.”
He was a professor in Carleton’s department of English Language and Literature and director of Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, according to the university website. He had been a professor there since 2006.
Adesanmi was the winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African non-fiction writing in 2010.
Benoit-Antoine Bacon, the school’s president and vice-chancellor, described him not only as a “person of integrity, of wholeness, of warmth” but also a “global thinker,” and a “towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship.”
He was also a former assistant professor of comparative literature at Pennsylvania State University. Adesanmi held degrees from Ilorin and Ibadan universities in Nigeria, and the University of British Columbia.
The Carleton community is mourning the loss of Pius Adesanmi, director of the Institute of African Studies, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s Ethiopian Airlines disaster. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. https://newsroom.carleton.ca/2019/carleton-community-mourns-the-loss-of-prof-pius-adesanmi/ …
Carleton Community Mourns the Loss of Prof. Pius Adesanmi
The Carleton community is saddened to learn of the death of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, who was among the 18 Canadians killed in today’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jet at the Addis Ababa airport. Global…
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Amina Ibrahim Odowaa, 33, and her daughter Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir, 5
The Edmonton woman was travelling with her daughter to Kenya to visit their relatives.
Odowaa’s brother Mohamed Hassan Ali, of Toronto said she had lots of friends and described her as a “very nice person, very outgoing, very friendly.”
The news has been hard on the family, with Ali telling CTV Edmonton, that “it’s such a tragic thing” and “so unexpected.”
Ali said he’d planned to travel with the pair but had cancelled last week.
A family friend told The Canadian Press that Odowaa has lived in Edmonton since 2006.
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Derick Lwugi, accountant with the City of Calgary
Lwugi worked as an accountant with the city and was on his way to visit Kenya to visit both his and his wife’s parents who live in the west of the country.
His wife Gladys Kivia told The Canadian Press that his mother had not been feeling well.
“He is a man who loves peace. He’s a man who loves people,” she told CTV Calgary when describing her husband, a former president of the Calgary-Kenya Association. “Whenever he knows someone has a problem or something, he was always the first one there.”
Lwugi leaves behind his wife Kivia, a domestic violence counsellor with the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, and their three children aged 17, 19 and 20, all of whom live at home.
Prince Kivia, Derick’s son, also told CTV Calgary that his dad was the best man he’s ever known.
Lwugi had come to Canada in 2003 and sponsored his family to join him three years later. The family has lived in Calgary for 12 years.
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Danielle Moore, 24, headed to UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi
CTV News Channel confirmed with her mother that her daughter Danielle of Winnipeg had died in the plane crash.
When reached by phone, she said her daughter had wanted to be a hero but said, “I needed my own hero. I need my Danielle.”
On her Facebook page, Moore had posted on Saturday that she was “so excited” and “beyond privileged” to announce that she had been chosen to attend United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.
On Twitter, she wrote she was looking forward to share with her followers what she’d learn at the conference.
Monica Phung, a friend of Moore’s who worked with her through a conservation program called described her as “a light” that “always brought a goodness to everyone around her.”
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press