Ethiopia: Wife, son of Kenyan who died in plane crash visit accident site

Joseph Waithaka died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

A Kenya woman whose husband was among the dead has travelled to the site of the Ethiopian plane crash tragedy with her son.

Jane Waithaka’s husband Joseph was among the 157 passengers and crew who died when Flight ET302, which was en-route to Nairobi, came down six minutes after it took off from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city on March 10.

Waithaka moved to Hull, England roughly 15 years ago and worked at the probation service before moving back to Kenya in 2015, reports Hull Live.

However his wife and children still live in England and he was on his way back to Kenya from a visit when he was killed.

Mrs Wiathaka and their son Ben Kuria travelled to Ethiopia last week to visit the crash site.

Ben said: “We were hoping to see the place Dad died and come one step closer to coming to terms with what’s happened. We did not just want rely on reports but wanted to see for ourselves.

“It was heaving with activity because it was 12 days since the crash, a significant milestone in the culture of Ethiopians who live there.

Jane Waithaka and son Ben Kuria visit the site of the Ethiopian plane crash.

“It was a painful day when we visited the crash site. It was so wrenching to see my mum so broken and the wailing around us was saddening.

“A broken shoe here, a torn phone case here and a mangled piece of plane there. The trip to Bishoftu did not bring any comfort. I am still numb and I am yet to react to this tragedy.”

The investigation into the cause of the crash set to last months.

“What touched me is that dad loved the countryside having grown up in the Kenyan highlands,” Kuria said.

"He valued simplicity and tranquility.

"The place where the plane came down is rural and I couldn’t help thinking that he passed away in a humble, quiet place where most of us would consider remote.

“We were overwhelmed at the sight of the sky and ground where dad had his last moments. But we’re really comforted by the support we’ve got from near and far afield.”

Waithaka worked for the probation service during his time in Hull and had a passion for helping people get back on track.

Ben Kuria and his mum Jane Waithaka shared an emotional journey to Ethiopia.

He became a volunteer with Humbercare which opened the door for him to get a job with the Probation Service supervising those carrying out unpaid work as part of a Community Service Order.

Kuria grew up in Hull before moving to London.

He previously said: “My dad came to my flat in London on Saturday night on his way to Heathrow from Hull and we had a meal together.

“He called me later to say he had boarded his flight at 8pm and I said ‘see you later’.”

Waithaka leaves behind wife Jane, his sons Ben and Joshua and daughter Zipporah.

Mother and son are mourning the loss of their husband and father.

Investigators have found the flight data recorders from an Ethiopian Airlines plane which have been recovered at the crash site. They are the cockpit voice recorder and digital flight data recorder.

The plane crashed six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people on board.

Airlines worldwide have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster.

It was a Boeing 737 800 Max - the same model as the Lion Air plane that crashed in Indonesia last October, killing 189.

Speaking of the latest tragedy, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the plane's captain told controllers at Bole airport he was having difficulty and wanted to return.

The Max model is the newest version of Boeing’s workhorse 737 model, the world’s most popular commercial airline.


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