Last remains of Ethiopian plane crash victims finally buried

Priests hold a ceremony beside coffins of victims of the crashed accident of Ethiopian Airlines during the mass funeral at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 17, 2019. - The crash of Flight ET 302 minutes into its flight to Nairobi on March 10 killed 157 people onboard and caused the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft model involved in the disaster. (Photo by Samuel HABTAB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAMUEL HABTAB/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO:A flower memorial that was held for victims at the crash site of an Ethiopian airways operated by a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on March 16, 2019 at Hama Quntushele village near Bishoftu in Oromia region./AFP/Getty Images

The last remains of 157 people killed aboard an Ethiopian Airlines plane in March were interred at the crash site this week, farmers and families told Reuters, but some relatives were upset they had been unable to take part in the ceremony.

Nadia Milleron, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed, said an email was sent to some families but not all  notifying them of the burial just two days before it happened.

“By the time the burial took place I was just wiped out; I was just glad they were doing it. I was tired of it not being done,” said Milleron. “But a lot of people didn’t feel like that. They hadn’t been aware of what was happening.”

Ethiopian Airlines did not return calls seeking comment about why some families were not told in advance.

Families have been begging the airline to fill in the crater left by the March 10 crash, which still contained remains too small to be recovered.

Milleron said on Saturday that locals had been burying remains exposed by rains in small mounds of earth. She herself found a bone at the site when she visited Ethiopia to collect her daughter’s remains in October, which she told the airline about in an email.

Rescue team carry collected bodies in bags at the crash site of Ethiopia Airlines near Bishoftu, a town some 60 kilometres southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 10, 2019./AFP/Getty Images

The force of the impact meant no complete bodies were recovered; partial remains were tested for DNA and finally returned to families last month.

Boeing manufactured the 737 MAX 8 plane, which nosedived shortly after take-off. A preliminary investigation pointed to a malfunctioning anti-stall system known as MCAS, which was also implicated in the crash of a Lion Air plane in Indonesia five months earlier. All 189 people onboard that flight were killed.

Some bereaved families have formed associations and hope to use funds from Boeing to build a memorial. The manufacturer will make $100 million available, with half going to families and half to projects in local communities.