By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – After a seven-month wait, Kenyans on Monday finally received the remains of their loved ones who died in an aviation disaster in Ethiopia this March.
Kenya's foreign affairs and transport ministers, local leaders, and relatives gathered at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to receive the remains of victims of the ET-302 Ethiopia crash which were ferried by an Ethiopian Airlines plane to Nairobi.
“The arrival of these remains marks an end to our very long wait, we can finally lay them to rest,” Quindos Karanja, who travelled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to have their DNA samples collected to help in identifying their loved ones, told Anadolu Agency.
“I can finally lay my wife to rest.”
On March 10, 157 people died after an Ethiopian airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed six minutes after takeoff. Kenyans made up the largest group of victims.
The families who received the remains of 28 out of 32 Kenyans held a mass at the airport in honor of their departed loved ones.
Photos of the deceased were placed on top of the caskets, which lay side by side at the mass held at the airport.
Kenya’s Foreign Minister Monica Juma told reporters on the sidelines of the mass: “The needs of every family have been taken care of, we have followed the wishes of the family and responded to those.”
On the issue of compensation, Juma said negotiations are ongoing, adding: “It will take a bit of time but with the government of Ethiopia as well as our civil aviation authorities we are working very closely on this.”
Boeing has offered the Kenyan families a $100 million compensation package but 15 families have rejected the offer on advice from their lawyers.