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NO HOPE

Desolate families recount last words, hopes for loved ones

One man lost five relatives

In Summary

- They didn't know each other, yet they did, as they clung to each other and wept together 

- Transport CS James Macharia said the government has set up two emergency centres

Relatives leave the information centre following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya March 10, 2019.
Relatives leave the information centre following the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Kenya March 10, 2019.
Image: REUTERS

Kelvin Karanja lost five family members in the Addis crash, his grief had no bounds.

He was one of the many benumbed family members of those who perished in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. They flocked to JKIA yesterday to get details of the tragedy, though they knew there was no hope.

Karanja wept as he said he lost his mother, sister and her three children; they were ere headed to Kenya to meet up the rest of the family.

He hadn't seen his sister for eight years and they had so much to talk about, so much to catch up on.

 "My mother had been in Ethiopia for six months and she was now coming to be with the rest of our family to Kenya," Karanja told the Star yesterday.

Martin Njoroge's sister had gone for a work trip to Ethiopia, it was the first time she boarded a plane outside the country.

Her family was thrilled with her newfound success after she secured a well-paying, shortly after campus.

She couldn't stop sending videos and pictures to her family back in Kenya about her experiences in Ethiopia.

"Why does it have to be this hard, why did we have to lose the young girl after a short stint of joy?" Njoroge asked the Star yesterday.

Mohamed Ahmed could not believe that his two nieces were no longer alive. He had seen them off when they left Kenya for a two-day visit and was looking forward to welcoming them home.

"We had only talked via Whatsapp when they arrived in Addis Ababa and we were to meet later after they jetted back," he said. God knows why this had to happen, it's painful to know we will not be able to laugh, play or talk with them."

At about 5pm, the airport chaplaincy made their way to where the families were huddled, perhaps to talk of life hereafter.

Transport CS James Macharia said the government has set up two emergency centres to facilitate communication with friends and relatives of passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi.

Among those who perished are Prof Agnes Gathumbi, Director at Kenyatta University;  Former Sports Commissioner Hussein Swaleh and Tamarind CEO Jonathan Seex. Also on the plane were two top managers at the Kenya Airports Authority.

Mercy Muthoni, 34 was devastated. She had spoken to her boyfriend minutes before he boarded the airliner. They had made plans for dinner; the restaurant was a surprise and he was to tell her when he landed.

"I learnt about the plane crash from social media, fingers crossed, I tried reaching him and his phone was off... It's hard to come to terms with it and I keep imagining that the might call back or land back safely," Mercy said.