'They are just such innocent children': Hamilton family killed in Ethiopian plane crash
Kayla Goodfield, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 7:28PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2019 8:41PM EDT
A 34-year-old woman, her three young children and her 60-year-old mother, who all lived in a Hamilton apartment, are among those who lost their lives as a plane crashed minutes after taking off in Ethiopia over the weekend.
Carolyne Karanja’s seven-month-old baby Rubi Njuguna was one of 18 Canadians killed as a plane crashed minutes after taking off in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, on Sunday.
All 157 passengers and crew members aboard the plane died in the incident.
Rubi Njuguna was travelling to Kenya to meet her grandfather for the first time.
Her mother, seven-year-old brother Ryan Njuguna, four-year-old sister Kelly Njuguna and 60-year-old grandmother Ann Karanja also died in the crash.
The entire family lived in Hamilton for the past year. While her family members were all permanent residents of Canada, Rubi Njuguna was the only citizen as she was born in the country.
The baby’s grandfather, Quindos Karanja, said the family was on their way to Kenya from Ontario to visit for Easter.
He said his daughter was excited to go back home but had mentioned she had a “bad feeling” before they departed for their trip.
Karanja said he is finding it hard to accept the tragedy that occurred.
A neighbour and close family friend of the family told CTV News Toronto that Carolyne Karanja was like a daughter to her.
While looking at photos of the young children, Grace Mugambi said “I don’t want to see this. They are just such innocent children.”
“I miss those people. I miss them. We were very close, very close. I would never see them quarrelling or fighting the way children fight all the time. They were so friendly and playing together all the time.”
Mugambi said this loss has made her feel alone in the apartment building.
“There are other people but I don’t know them.”
Mugambi said Carolyne Karanja’s husband, Paul Njoroge, worked in Bermuda but visited often.
“I don’t know how he is going to handle this but I just pray to God to give him strength,” she said.
Eighteen Canadian citizens, including Rubi Njuguna, were killed in the plane 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” from the plane had been recovered, though it was partially damaged.
An investigation is underway.
The incident was similar to a Lion Air crash that occurred last year. The jet plunged into the Java Sea and left 189 people dead.
Both crashes involved the Boeing 737 Max 8 and happened minutes after takeoff.
With files from CTV News Toronto's Tracy Tong