Six members of a family from India living in Canada were among the 157 people who died in Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday. The family was heading to a safari park in Kenya for a "trip of a lifetime". Among the dead are Pannagesh Vaidya, 73; his wife Hansini Vaidya, 67; their daughter Kosha Vaidya, 37; her husband Prerit Dixit, 45; and their two children - Anushka and Ashka. Prerit Dixit, originally from Gujarat's Surat, had settled in Canada with his wife around 17 years ago after their marriage. While the Surat-based Vaidya couple were Indian nationals, their daughter, husband and two children were Canadians of Indian-origin.
"All of them were staying in Canada. They were going to Nairobi on a personal tour. The Ministry of External Affairs has assured full support to us. They have said that the Indian Embassy in Kenya will also support. They have assured that their bodies will be brought back as soon as possible," Kosha Vaidhya's maternal uncle Markesh Mehta told news agency ANI.
The Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing 737, took-off from Bole International Airport on Sunday and lost contact six minutes later after take-off from Addis Ababa, Capital of Ethiopia, before coming down near Tulu Fara village outside the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu.
"It's a huge tragedy. I lost my parents, I lost my sister. I don't have anyone else now," Manant Vaidya, son of Pannagesh Vaidya, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Manant said his sister, who became a Canadian permanent resident in 2003, wanted to take her children to Kenya to visit her birthplace.
"They thought March break was the perfect time for them to go over there, have fun," he said. "It was going to be a really great trip for everybody."
"I asked my dad why he wanted to go and he told me that in his life he wants to go one more time."
Manant said he last saw his family Saturday morning when he dropped them off at Toronto Pearson International Airport for their 10 am flight overseas. He and his wife said they are currently speaking with consular officials overseas and waiting for more information on their family's remains, the report said.
"This is an unbelievably tragic situation for this family," Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said in a statement.
"As more details become known, I will provide a further update on how Brampton residents can assist this family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of sorrow and reflection."
The flags at city hall will remain at half-mast until further notice in honour of the family, Mr Brown said in a message on Twitter.
The Peel District School Board said Monday that two of our students Ashka and Anushka Dixit along with their parents and grandparents were passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that was involved in a fatal crash over the weekend.
This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff at Centennial Senior Public School and Chinguacousy Secondary School, the school board said.
"Tomorrow, the flags at @ChinguacousySS & @CentennialSrPS will be lowered to half-mast to remember and honour Anushka Dixit, Ashka Dixit, their parents and grandparents who lost their lives over the weekend," the school board tweeted.
The flight had people from 35 countries on board. According to the Indian Embassy in Ethiopia, four Indian nationals were killed and they have been identified as Pannagesh Vaidya, Hansini Vaidya, Nukavarapu Manisha, a doctor based in the US, and Shikha Garg, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant attached with the Environment Ministry.
Ethiopian Airlines said Kenya had the largest number of casualties with 32, followed by Canada with 18, Ethiopia nine, then Italy, China, and the US with eight each.
Britain and France each had seven people on board, Egypt six, and Germany five. Twelve countries in Africa and 14 in Europe had citizens among the victims.