Ethiopian Airline Crash: Nigerian-Canadian Professor, Kenyan Georgetown University Student, among dead

Grief and sorrow know no borders, but Sunday’s Ethiopian Airline crash is truly an international tragedy.

The Nairobi, Kenya-bound plane went down within minutes of taking off from Addis Ababa.

The crash killed 157 people, seven of them crew members and one a security official, an airline spokeswoman said.

The passengers were from 35 nations, the airline said, with the greatest share from Kenya.

Among the victims was Cedric Asiavugwa, a third-year law student at Georgetown University and Nigerian-born Canadian, Professor Pius Adesanmi, the director of Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies.

Cedric Asiavugwa was travelling to Nairobi to attend the funeral of one of his relatives, reports say.

“With his passing, the Georgetown family has lost a stellar student, a great friend to many, and a dedicated champion for social justice across East Africa and the world,” Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor said.

Mr Asiavugwa was committed to issues of social justice, especially for refugees and other marginalised groups, the university said.

He also carried out research on subjects ranging from peace to food security in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan.

Nigerian-born Professor Pius Adesanmi, was the director of Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies.

“The contributions of Pius Adesanmi to Carleton are immeasurable,” said Pauline Rankin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“He worked tirelessly to build the Institute of African Studies, to share his boundless passion for African literature and to connect with and support students. He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who leaves a deep imprint on Carleton.”

Benoit-Antoine Bacon, president and vice-chancellor of Global Affairs Canada, said: “Pius Adesanmi was a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy.”

Nigeria’s writers, scholars and journalists reacted to the news with “great shock and sadness”.

Prof Adesanmi was travelling to Nairobi to take part in a conference organised by the African Union, reports say.

Nineteen United Nations staff members were among those killed, the UN said.

The staffers worked for the World Food Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees, the International Telecommunications Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Organization for Migration in South Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, and the UN Office in Nairobi.

Though it’s not clear why UN employees were on the plane, the UN Environment Assembly is scheduled to begin Monday in Nairobi.

Here’s what we know about the names and nationalities of the passengers and the security official. The airline has not yet reported the crew members’ home countries.

Ethiopia — 9

China — 8

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that four of the victims worked for Chinese companies and two for the UN (including one Hong Kong resident). It said the two others were traveling for private purposes and were from Liaoning and Zhejiang.

Jin Yetao, 32, had been stationed in South Sudan for four years and promoted the “Belt and Road Initiative” in Africa, his employer — state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China — said.

The initiative “aims to help countries along the route achieve industrialized vision and to provide vocational skill training,” AVIC said.

Jin had been on a business trip to carry out education projects in Kenya, Uganda and Gabon in his role as a deputy manager in an AVIC-affiliated company, it said.

The local Zheijang provincial newspaper Qianjiang Evening reported that a local college senior was also among the victims. It said she was a journalism major who would have turned 22 next month. She had been traveling to Kenya to watch giraffes.

The woman’s college said that she had been expected to graduate in June. Pear Video reports that she was meeting up with her boyfriend in Kenya and was traveling from there.

Italy — 8

USA — 8

France — 7

UK — 7

Egypt — 6

Germany — 5

India — 4

Slovakia — 4

Slovakian lawmaker Anton Hrnko said on Facebook that his wife, Blanka, son Martin and daughter Michala were among the victims.

Austria — 3

Russia — 3

The Russian Embassy in Ethiopia tweeted the names of three Russian citizens who were on the plane: Ekaterina Polyakova, Aleksandr Polyakov and Sergey Vyalikov.

Sweden — 3

Israel — 2

Morocco — 2

Poland — 2

Spain — 2

Belgium — 1

Djibouti — 1

Indonesia — 1

Ireland — 1

Mozambique — 1

Norway — 1

Rwanda — 1

Saudi Arabia– 1

Sudan — 1

Somalia — 1

Serbia — 1

Togo — 1

Uganda — 1

Yemen — 1

Nepal — 1

Nigeria — 1

Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a retired Nigerian foreign service officer died in the crash, the Nigerian presidency and government confirmed.

One passenger was traveling on a UN passport.