Colleagues and friends mourn Ethiopia's youngest airline captain
Photographs of the crew members of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 that crashed are displayed during a memorial service by the airlines' Pilots' Association in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mar. 11, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/STR
Addis Ababa, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- More than 200 mourners on Thursday paid homage to Ethiopia's youngest pilot, the captain of the ill-fated the Ethiopia Airlines plane that crashed on its way from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all 157 on board.
Surrounded by a wreath of flowers and dozens of lit candles two photos showing 29-year-old Yared Getachew, in uniform and holding his hat, were displayed at Getachew's family chapel, just 10 minutes from the capital's Bole International Airport.
The Boeing 737 MAX-8 ET 302 crashed near the town of Bishoftu – 45 kilometers (27 miles) southeast of the Ethiopian capital – on Sunday.
The pilot's father, Getachew Tessema, told EFE that he was greatly saddened by the death of his son who he added had never had a chance to marry or have children.
Tessema said he was moved by the large number of mourners, especially young people, many of whom attended the vigil mass.
The father of the fallen pilot called for the erection of a monument with the victim's names and photographs.
Most of the people who died Sunday were Kenyans, Canadians and Ethiopians, although 35 countries had nationals who died in the accident.
In Addis Ababa, on the short road that links Getachew's neighborhood and the airport, the Ethiopian AirLine Pilot's Association also paid tribute to the young flier with a mass of mourning attended by thousands of Getachew's colleagues, employees of Ethiopian Airlines, friends and locals who wanted to show solidarity also joined the commemoration ceremony.
Earlier Thursday, Ethiopian Airlines sent the black boxes – which are on-flight recorders containing vital data about why the plane crashed a mere six minutes after takeoff – to France for analysis after acknowledging that company authorities could not analyze them in Ethiopia.
Many relatives of the victims were able to visit the crash site of ET 302 on Wednesday and hold a commemoration ceremony there.
Sunday's tragedy prompted the United States-based company, Boeing, to ground Wednesday the entire global fleet of 737 Max aircraft over safety concerns.
In October 2018, the same Boeing model was involved in a Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.