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Baby Travelling To See Grandfather Among Canadian Victims In Ethiopian Crash

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 12 Mar, 2019
  • Baby Travelling To See Grandfather Among Canadian Victims In Ethiopian Crash

A nine-month-old baby girl is believed to be the youngest Canadian victim in the devastating Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed everyone on board.


Rubi Paul's grandfather said the child was travelling to Kenya with her mother, grandmother and older siblings to meet him for the very first time. The baby girl was the only Canadian citizen in the family.


"It's just hard to accept that this has happened," Quindos Karanja said in a telephone interview from Kenya. "I feel so much loss. And pain. I'm lonely."


Authorities have said 157 people were killed when the plane crashed moments after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday. Eighteen of those victims were Canadian citizens, although several others were foreign nationals living in Canada.


Karanja said he's struggling to come to terms with the loss of not only Rubi, but also her 60-year-old grandmother, Ann Wangui Karanja, her 34-year-old mother Carolyne Karanja, and her siblings — seven-year-old Ryan and four-year-old Kerri.


Carolyne Karanja, a Kenyan, had applied to be a permanent resident in Canada, he said. Ann Karanja, his wife, travelled to Canada for a visit in August and was supposed to be there for three months but had extended her stay.

 


Quindos Karanja said Carolyne had been grappling with a sense of fear leading up to the trip, which was intended in part to introduce him to his newest granddaughter in time for Easter.


"She didn't know why she had that bad feeling ... that was my final talk with her," he said, adding that Carolyne Karanja was the breadwinner of the family.


Theirs was the second family with ties to Canada that lost multiple generations in the deadly crash.


Two teenage girls, their parents and grandparents were among those killed in the crash, according to the girls' uncle.

 


The family from Brampton, Ont., included 13-year-old Anushka Dixit, her 14-year-old sister Ashka, their mother, 37-year-old Kosha Vaidya, father 45-year-old Prerit Dixit, and grandparents 71-year-old Pannagesh Vaidya and 63-year-old Hansini Vaidya. It wasn't immediately clear if the grandparents were Canadian citizens.


The family was en route to Kenya for a safari, said Manant Vaidya, Kosha's brother.


"I miss them a lot," he said, adding he and his wife and kids got together every weekend with his sister's family. "I don't really believe this has happened. I'm still in the shock phase."

 


Many of the other Canadian victims came from the ranks of humanitarian and aid workers. They included a number of youth travelling to a United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.


Micah Messent, Danielle Moore and Angela Rehhorn were all slated to attend the conference through various humanitarian or conservation organizations.


Former Edmonton resident Darcy Belanger — a founding member of not-for-profit conservation group Parvati.org and its director of strategic initiatives — was also planning to attend the same conference.


"At one point in our decade-long friendship, Darcy told me he was willing to give his life for MAPS. And so, he literally did," said Parvati.org founder Parvati. "He embodied the heart of a true peaceful warrior. May we each be inspired by his example of selfless leadership, compassion in action, and willingness to serve the greater good."


Other victims included Stephanie Lacroix, who was working with the United Nations Association in Canada, and career aid worker Jessica Hyba who was employed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.


Patty Hajdu, the minister of employment, workforce development and labour, said their deaths will be felt by the entire country.


"These bright, young Canadians were an inspiration: compassionate leaders, dedicated to the conviction that they could build a better future for our country," she said.


Forestry advocate Peter deMarsh of New Brunswick, Carleton University literature Professor Pius Adesanmi, Calgary accountant Derick Lwugi, and Edmonton mother and daughter Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir were also killed in the crash.

 

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