Six members of Brampton family killed in Ethiopian plane crash
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Monday, March 11, 2019 3:18PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:09PM EDT
Six members of a Brampton family are among those who lost their lives as a plane crashed minutes after taking off in Ethiopia on Sunday.
Ashka Dixit, 14, and Anushka Dixit, 13, were on a family vacation with their parents, 37-year-old Kosha Vaidya and 45-year-old Preit Dixit and their grandparents, 73-year-old Pannagesh Vaidya and 67-year-old Hansini Vaidya when an Ethiopian Airlines plane went down shortly after departing from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
All 157 passengers and crew members on board the plane were killed in the crash.
CP24 and CTV News Toronto spoke to Manant Vaidya and his wife Hiral Vaidya about the loss of his parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces.
The couple said their family members were on a trip to Kenya during the March break as Kosha Vaidya wanted to show her daughters where she grew up.
“She wanted to show her daughter where she was born – where she was delivered in the hospital and the safari was the place they were going to go enjoy the animals,” Manant Vaidya said while holding back tears inside their home. “With the March break this was the perfect oppourtunity for them to show them. They told my parents that if they would like to come as well but unfortunately my parents agreed as well and everybody in my family… they got lost.”
Prerit Dixit worked in healthcare and his wife, Kosha Vaidya, worked in human resources at a Canadian company.
Manant Vaidya said the couple’s young girls and his daughters were very close friends. He said Anuksha Vaidya had a keen interest in robotics and Ashka Vaidya loved to sing and dance.
Ashka Dixit attended Chinguacousy Secondary School and Anushka Dixit attended Centennial Sr. Public School, both in Brampton.
The schools sent out a letter to students and their families on Monday afternoon regarding the incident.
“This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff,” the letter read. “Even students who did not personally know (Ashka or Anushka) may be affected by this loss. It is important to remember that death can affect students in a variety of ways.”
Counsellors will be made available at the schools on March 18, when students return from the break.
Hiral Vaidya said her husband’s parents lived with them and this tragedy has left their home feeling empty.
“It’s a huge loss for us,” she said. “We don’t know – it’s hard to recover from this. The house is very lonely. It’s very hard. We can’t believe this is truth right now.”
“My kids had huge support from my in-laws. They were taken care of by my mother-in-law.”
Manant Vaidya said his parents came to Canada about five years ago from India.
“I came to Toronto in 2006 and they always used to support me. They used to come on visitor visas and then they came up here in 2012 or 2013 so it has been about five years they were permanent residents of Canada. I sponsored my parents so they could live with me and it was for the kids. They were all alone in India.”
He said he has been in contact with both the Canadian Consulate and the Indian Embassy in Ethiopia.
“We are still waiting for the body remains if I can even get it because right now it crashed so badly that I don’t even know if I will be getting the body parts right now. Currently my preference is to get the remains and then get them to rest as soon as possible.”
Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said the family is dealing with an “unbelievably tragic situation” in a statement issued on Monday.
“Global Affairs Canada has been in touch with the family members in Brampton and will assist,” he wrote. “As a sign of respect, all flags at City Hall with be half-mast until further notice.”
“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.”
Eighteen Canadian citizens were killed in the crash.
The cause behind the plane going down six minutes after taking off from Bole Airport is not yet known.
An airline official confirmed to The Associated Press that the “black box” had been recovered, though it was partially damaged.
An investigation into the crash 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 the Boeing 737 Max 8 and occurred minutes after takeoff.