Ethiopian Airlines crash: Dad's 'pride' for 'loving' UN worker among seven Brits killed on way to Nairobi
JC News|March. 11, 2019
The devastated father of a British UN worker killed in yesterday's plane crash in Ethiopia has described her as "soft and loving" as he spoke of his pride in her achievements.
A polar tourism expert and former probation worker have also been named among British nationals who died after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
Seven Brits were on board the Nairobi-bound aircraft, which crashed in Ethiopia at about 8.45am local time (5.45am GMT), killing all 147 passengers and eight crew members on board.
Joanna Toole's father Adrian said "we're still in a state of shock" after the 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was killed on her way to Nairobi to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly.
He said she was a woman whose "work was not a job - it was her vocation".
"Everybody was very proud of her and the work she did. We're still in a state of shock. Joanna was genuinely one of those people who you never heard a bad word about," he told the DevonLive website.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft came down just six minutes after take off from Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet until further notice, the airline said on its Twitter account on Monday.
At least 19 UN workers are feared to have died in the tragic incident, a spokesman for the agency said. The environmental forum was due to start on Monday.
Colleagues at the UN fisheries and aquaculture department described Ms Toole as a "wonderful human being".
Tributes have also been paid to Joseph Waithaka, who was among the 157 who died in the crash.
Mr Waithaka, a 55-year-old who lived in Hull for a decade before moving back to his native Kenya, had dual Kenyan and British citizenship, the BBC reported.
His son Ben Kuria, who lives in London, told the Hull Daily Mail that his father had worked for the Probation Service, adding: "He helped so many people in Hull who had found themselves on the wrong side of the law."
He told the BBC he had seen his father, who had three children, in Croydon, south London on Saturday when he had been in the UK visiting relatives.
"I gave him a hug and shook his hand, because in my culture it's more about the handshake than it is about the hug," he said.
"And I said we'll probably see you at some point soon. We usually spend a bit more time saying goodbye, but yesterday it kind of just felt routine."
Also among the dead was Polar tourism expert Sarah Auffret, who was making her way to Nairobi to discuss tackling plastic pollution in the seas at the UN assembly according to her Norway-based employers Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO).
The University of Plymouth graduate held dual French-British citizenship, Norwegian media reported.
Manuel Barange, a UN director, said he was "profoundly sad and lost for words" over her death, saying she had been travelling to Nairobi to represent the organisation at the UN Environment Assembly.
One Irish victim was named as Michael Ryan, a married father-of-two based in Rome with the UN's World Food Programme, which distributes rations to people in need.
Known as Mick and formerly from Lahinch in Co Clare, Mr Ryan was celebrated for "doing life-changing work in Africa" by Irish premier Leo Varadkar.
Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "deeply saddened" to learn of the disaster, and offered her thoughts to everyone "affected by this tragic incident".
The victims' identities started to emerge with Slovakian MP Anton Hrnko saying he was "in deep grief" that his wife and two children were killed in the crash.
Aid workers, doctors and a prominent football official were also believed to be among the dead.
These included 32 Kenyans, nine Ethiopians, 18 Canadians, eight each from China, the US and Italy, seven from France, six from Egypt and five from Germany.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China issued a notice on Monday at 9am local time (1am GMT) ordering domestic airlines to suspend the commercial operation of the Boeing 737 Max 8 before 6pm.
Meanwhile Cayman Airways president Fabian Whorms said both of the airline's new Max 8s will not fly from Monday.
While the cause is not yet known, the crash shared similarities with last year's Lion Air jet plunging into the Java Sea, killing 189. That also involved a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashing minutes after takeoff.
Indonesia's national transport safety agency has said it is ready to assist Ethiopian authorities with their probe.
On Sunday, visibility was clear but air traffic monitor Flightradar24 said "vertical speed was unstable after take off".
The pilot had sent out a distress call and was given the all clear to return, according to the airline's chief executive Mr Gebremariam.
Senior captain Yared Getachew had a "commendable performance" having completed more than 8,000 hours in the air, the airline said.
The plane had flown from Johannesburg to the Ethiopian capital earlier on Sunday morning, and had undergone a "rigorous" testing on February 4, a statement continued.
An eyewitness told the BBC there was an intense fire when the plane crashed.
"The blast and the fire were so strong that we couldn't get near it," he said. "Everything is burnt down."
Additonal reporting by agencies.
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