Ethiopian Airlines crash: Aid worker among Britons killed

Sam Pegram Image copyright Sam Pegram/Facebook
Image caption Sam Pegram’s mother Deborah told the Lancashire Evening Post he “loved the work he was doing”

An aid worker and a mother and son have been named among at least nine Britons killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Sam Pegram, of Lancashire, was killed as well as Sahra Hassan Said and her son Nasrudin Abdulkadir, who had dual Somali-British citizenship.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board.

Tributes have been paid to the Britons who died.

Mr Pegram, 25, from Penwortham, was an intern with the Norwegian Refugee Council, based in Geneva.

His mother Deborah told the Lancashire Evening Post: “Sam was so looking forward to going to Nairobi. He loved the work he was doing.

“We can’t believe this has happened. We’re totally devastated.”

It was initially reported that seven UK nationals were on the flight, but another two passengers were discovered to be dual nationals travelling on another passport, the Foreign Office said.

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Media captionJoanna Toole’s father said it was “tragic” she would not be able to achieve more with the UN

UN worker Joanna Toole was the first Briton to be named among the dead.

Originally from Exmouth, the 36-year-old was living in Rome and worked for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was travelling to the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

On Monday, her father, Adrian, spoke of his pride in his daughter’s achievements and said it was “tragic” that she would not be able to achieve more in her career with the UN.

He told Devon Live his daughter was a “very soft and loving person” and that they were “still in a state of shock” over her death.

The director of the FAO, Manuel Barange, tweeted: “So profoundly sad and lost for words at the loss of our wonderful @FAOfish officer @JoannaToole.

“A wonderful human being, who loved her work with a passion. Our love to her family and loved ones.”

University of Plymouth graduate Sarah Auffret and Kenyan and British dual national Joseph Waithaka were also among the victims.

Image copyright AECO/PA
Image caption Sarah Auffret was also travelling to the UN Environment Assembly

Ms Auffret, believed to have had dual British and French nationality, was a polar tourism expert and had been travelling to Nairobi to talk about how to tackle marine plastic pollution at the UN event.

She grew up in Brittany in northern France before living in the UK, Australia, Germany, Argentina, Japan, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Norwegian media reported she was aged 30 and lived in Tromso, Norway.

A spokesman for the University of Plymouth, which she graduated from in 2007, described her as “an exemplary student who fully embraced university life and took every opportunity to develop herself while she was here”.

Her employers, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators, said they were “shocked and heartbroken” to learn of her death.

Image copyright Ben Kuria
Image caption Joseph Waithaka was a father of three

Joseph Waithaka – a 55-year-old Kenyan and British dual national – moved to the UK in 2004 and worked for the Humberside Probation Trust in Hull before returning to live in Kenya in 2015.

His son, Ben Kuria, said he was still in shock after hearing that his father was on board the flight and described him as a “generous” man who “loved justice”.

Image copyright Jonathan Druion
Image caption The Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft that crashed on Sunday

Ethiopian Airlines said it had contacted the families of all the victims, who came from 30 nations.

At least 19 victims were affiliated with the United Nations, according to a UN official.

The cause of the disaster is not yet known. However, the pilot had reported difficulties and had asked to return to Addis Ababa, the airline said. Investigators say they have found the “black box” flight data recorders.

Another plane of the same model was involved in a crash less than five months ago, when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia with nearly 190 people on board.

The 737 Max 8 aircraft has only been in commercial use since 2017.

Several airlines have grounded the Boeing model following the disaster, but some airlines serving UK airports are continuing to fly the aircraft model involved in the deadly crash.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority said there were five Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft registered and operational in the UK, with a sixth due to enter operation this week. It said it was liaising “very closely” with the European Aviation Safety Agency as information about the crash emerged.

Meanwhile, two airlines that fly in and out of the UK and have the Boeing 737 Max 8 among their fleet said their aircraft were operating as normal.

Tui Airways, which became the first UK airline to receive a Max 8 last November, currently flies six of the type.

Scandinavian airline Norwegian serves London Gatwick, Manchester and Edinburgh and has 18 Max 8s in service.

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