Scarborough woman, 24, killed in Ethiopian plane crash remembered as 'Miss Incredible'
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:50PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:10PM EDT
A 24-year-old Scarborough woman, known as “Miss Incredible” to family and friends, is being remembered for her dedication to teaching under-privileged children throughout Canada about environmental concerns after she died in an Ethiopian plane crash over the weekend.
Danielle Moore was selected to be a United Nations ambassador for Canada just a few months ago. She was headed to a five-day environmental conference being held in Nairobi when she was killed in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.
All 157 passengers and crew members aboard the aircraft were killed in the incident.
Danielle Moore was one of 18 Canadian victims.
“There were a couple of names that we called her – we called her ‘pumpkin’ and very recently, we’ve been calling her ‘Miss. Incredible’ after seeing what she has done,” her father Chris Moore said while speaking with CTV News Toronto on Wednesday afternoon.
“She touched many hearts, many lives in this world, trying to change the environment, change peoples’ thinking about how to treat people and the environment – big changes in the world that she wanted to bring.”
Sitting hand-in-hand on their living room couch in their Scarborough family home, Chris Moore and his wife Clariss Moore shared their daughter’s passions, noting they had not accomplished anything close to what their daughter had in her short life.
“She loved working with students,” her father said. “She realized that she could do more good by planting seeds for real truth as opposed to fabrication – teach kids how to learn – the methods of understanding science and how to learn what the truth is and how to differentiate that.”
“She wanted to change things by teaching children. From what I heard she was an amazing teacher. The kids in Iqaluit, they wanted her to stay.”
Her mother said she hopes the younger generation will learn from her accomplished daughter.
“I want to continue her legacy and we will have a safer place with the young people to live,” she said. “If I was 100 years old, what she did at 24, what I would do is nothing compared. I didn’t even do one thing she did.”
Danielle Moore grew up in Scarborough before heading to Halifax to study marine biology at Dalhousie University. While in university, her parents said she worked three jobs to support herself and save up money. After graduating from the program, she worked with children throughout B.C. and Nunavut. She then continued her passion of teaching children about science while living in Winnipeg, working for Canada Learning Code. She travelled around Manitoba with the company, teaching kids in Indigenous communities about writing code and robotics.
“They would bring their van with all of these laptops and get kids to play with them to learn coding,” Chris Moore said. “We were very proud of her of course.”
Danielle Moore was supposed to start school again at the University of Ottawa in September to become a teacher.
Prior to moving to Ottawa, her mother said she was heading to Kenya to “change the world.”
During their sit-down interview, Clariss Moore described her final conversation with her daughter as she boarded her connecting flight in Ethiopia, heading to Nairobi.
“On Friday, it was my last real conversation with my daughter, and I said that as a mom am I being a good mom, are we being good parents, because she is going so far away and it seems like you don’t want to be around us and she said ‘you know what, you are the best mom and the best friend that I could ever have because you set us free to help others and I am so full of love and joy and I am having a good time and I will be safe, I will travel safe,’” she said.
“In my heart I didn’t know it was the last one that I could have and then on Saturday night it was 11 a.m. here and she messaged me saying ‘I’m flying now mom. I am in the airport.’ I said ‘stay safe.’ Then 11-something p.m. she said ‘I landed safely mom.’ I said ‘oh good, that’s wonderful, stay safe and vigilant.’ She said ‘yes mom, I will stay safe.’ Then she said ‘I’m getting into Addis Ababa, I love you’ and that’s it. I just wish that instead of texting, I called.”
“She was a hero to everyone but I wanted my hero too. I want to hug and to call, just for one more day.”
Since their last conversation, her mother said she has constantly listened back to her daughter’s valedictorian speech from high school over and over again.
“In her speech, she said you could not judge people because of who they are until you walk in their own shoes,” she said. “All the things that she said there are just powerful and I learned a lot, I learned these past few days half of her half I didn’t even know how much she did for the world, I didn’t know all of those things.”
Danielle Moore and her parents were last together about two weeks ago in Ottawa. They spent the weekend with her partner David Lawless, who said it was the happiest she had ever been.
“I’m still thinking about that every day and how lucky I was – we both were – to have those memories together,” Lawless said. “She was so happy. You could see it in her face. We were looking at each other and she was always smiling and you could tell how excited she was.”
The plane Danielle Moore was aboard went down six minutes after taking off from Bole Airport in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
The cause behind the crash is not yet known. An airline official confirmed earlier in the week that the “black box” had been recovered, though it was partially damaged.
An investigation into the matter is underway.
The incident was similar to a Lion Air crash that took place last year. The jet plunged into the Java Sea and left 189 people dead.
Both crashes involved Boeing 737 Max 8 planes and occurred minutes after takeoff.
In the wake of the Ethiopian crash, many nations, including Canada, have grounded this type of aircraft from its airspace.
The decision to ban the aircraft in Canada, announced by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, was made on Wednesday morning in Ottawa.
“Personally, one of the problems I have is that I don’t have enough information on the subject,” Chris Moore said. “But, I think they should at least ground them until they really find out – get the ‘black box’ and let’s find out what happened.”
Danielle Moore’s younger brother, who described her as a “caring leader,” said her friends have organized a cross-Canada ritual near bodies of waters to honour the 24-year-old.
“Danielle was a passionate sister who really cared for me and really supported what I did and she would always reach out to me even though she was really far away and constantly be commenting about all the things that I’m doing and just telling me how proud she was and there were so many things that she kept me updated on in her life because she was travelling,” David Moore said.
“I always looked up to her and she was my greatest inspiration.”
The nation-wide ritual in Toronto to honour Danielle Moore will be held at Inukshuk Park by the waterfront on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
“There are so many (rituals) happening around Canada,” David Moore said. “People from other parts of the world coming together, doing this ritual to honour my sister.”
With files from CTV News Toronto's Tracy Tong