Ethiopian Airlines Crash: Brampton’s Vaidya family unable to identify family members

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Manant Vaidya is joined by his wife Hiral, left, as he speaks to a Canadian Press reporter about losing his two parents, sister, brother-in-law, and two young nieces in the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crash, at his home in Brampton, Ont., Monday, March 11, 2019. The Brampton, Ont., family that lost six members in the Ethiopia Airlines crash says authorities in that country have told them it could take up to six months to identify their relatives' remains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

The Brampton, Ont., family that lost six members in the Ethiopian Airlines crash says authorities in that country have told them it could take up to six months to identify their relatives’ remains.

The family said Sunday that during their trip to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, they were unable to identify their family members as they’d hoped.

“We were not able to identify, we were advised timeline would be up to six months,” Manant Vaidya wrote in a text message to The Canadian Press.

Vaidya lost his parents Pannagesh Vaidya and Hansini Vaidya, his sister Kosha Vaidya, his brother-in-law Prerit Dixit, and nieces Ashka and Anushka Dixit in the plane crash last week.

Officials say 157 people from 35 different countries were killed when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

Relatives grieve next to empty caskets draped with the national flag at a mass funeral at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sunday, March 17, 2019. Thousands of Ethiopians have turned out to a mass funeral ceremony in the capital one week after the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash. Officials have begun delivering bags of earth to family members of the 157 victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is going to take such a long time. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Vaidya travelled to Ethiopia with his wife and two daughters, and had hoped to transport his family members’ remains to India for a burial ritual before returning to Canada.

The family was on the doomed flight as they travelled to Kenya on a vacation to visit Kosha’s birthplace, which Manant said his 37-year-old sister hadn’t visited for decades.

Her daughters, 14-year-old Ashka and 13-year-old Anushka, were looking forward to going on a safari, he said.

Manant said his parents were from Gujarat, India, but had lived in Kenya for three or four years and later returned to India. Kosha moved to Ontario in 2004 after marrying her husband, who already lived in Canada.

The girls were strong students and enrolled in specialized science and technology courses, Manant said. Ashka was also known for her singing voice, while Anushka was talented in dance and was learning a traditional Indian form called khattak.

Prerit, 45, worked as a medical lab assistant for LifeLabs and also held a job at Ontario’s Ministry of Health. Kosha used to work for the Canadian Hearing Society, said Manant.

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