CanadaEdmonton mother and daughter among 18 Canadians killed in Ethiopian Airlines plane crash
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An Edmonton woman and her daughter are among 18 Canadians confirmed dead in a plane crash on Sunday in Ethiopia.
A family member told CBC News that Amina Ibrahim Odowa, 33, and her daughter Sofia Abdulkadir, 5, were killed when an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa.
Odowa's two surviving daughters, ages three and seven, are in the care of their grandmother in Edmonton.
None of the 157 passengers and crew members on board survived.
The plane was destined for Nairobi. After takeoff, the Ethiopian Airlines pilot sent out a distress call and was cleared to return to the airport.
18 Canadians killed in Ethiopian plane crash
Ethiopian Airlines says it has contacted the families of the victims of a plane crash Sunday that killed 157 people, including 18 Canadians.
It's not known yet what caused the Boeing 737 MAX 8 to crash.
Odowa's brother, Mohamed Ali, said he learned of the deaths of his sister and niece Sunday morning, a day after they left from Toronto. He said he spoke to Odowa just before take-off.
"I told her good luck. You know, see you soon," said Ali.
'Such devastating news'
Odowa and her daughter were on their way to Kenya to visit family. Their flight from Toronto landed in Addis Ababa at around 7 a.m. local time. They were scheduled to fly to Nairobi an hour and a half later.
When Ali heard of the crash, he said he hoped Odowa and her daughter had missed the tight connection, which was often the case in the past. But the flight to Nairobi was delayed, giving them enough time to make it.
Toronto’s Ethiopian community prays for plane crash victims
Before the victims were named, the Ethiopian Airlines crash already felt personal to some Torontonians.
A call to the airline confirmed Ali's sister and niece were on the downed flight.
"I was shocked," Ali said. "Then I knew it was real. I called my mom and it was very shocking for her too. Such devastating news. It's something you don't expect ... yesterday they were with you here, today they're no more."
Ali had considered joining them and had even reserved a spot on the same flight but ultimately cancelled.
Ali smiled when asked about his niece who he described as a spirited and funny young girl who tried to convince him to travel with her so she could take some classes in Kenya.
"She was the favourite child of everybody in the family. She had her own mind, and she always wanted things done the way she liked," he said. "She was amazing."
His sister, who was the youngest sibling in the family, lived with their mother. Odowa took care of her mom and was the one who kept the family in touch with each other.
Air Canada, WestJet fly 37 planes of the type that crashed in Ethiopia
WestJet added four more Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes following a separate fatal crash in Indonesia.
Odowa had many friends and worked for a small company in Edmonton for nine years, Ali said.
"She's always the one who is the connection point with our family," he said. "She was well-loved."
Ali says his family is now trying to seek closure by finding a way to bring home the remains of their loved ones.
"We don't know what's going to happen next," Ali said. "Everything is in the dark."
People from around the world, including Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, expressed their condolences on social media for the victims' families.
Pilot of Crashed Jet Reported Flight-Control Problems.
The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed Sunday reported that he was having flight-control problems and wanted to return to the airport, but didn’t indicate any other technical faults or other difficulties.
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