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Edmonton victims of Ethiopian Airlines crash laid to rest after 7 months

Andrea Huncar · CBC News
Saturday October 26, 2019

More than seven months after Amina Odowa and her five-year-old daughter Sofia Abdulkadir died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, loved ones finally laid them to rest.

For Odowa's brother, Mohamed Ali, who flew from Ethiopia earlier this week with their remains, Friday's funeral in Edmonton brought comfort and the beginning of much-needed closure.

"For it to take seven months plus to put them to rest, it's been very painful," said Ali, who consoled his tearful mother outside Al Rashid Mosque.

"To see all these people turn up and pray for them, it makes us feel good that they have a final funeral that's really good, that they deserve."

Two trees will be planted at the mosque in honour of Odowa and Sophia. A park will be opened in the little girl's name.

Ali choked up as he spoke about the significance in Islam of planting a tree, which is known as sadaqah jariyah — a charitable act that continues to give.

"That's a big deal for us. That's a big deal for our family because every day people die, they don't get that chance," said Ali, placing his hand on his heart. "The rest that people take under the tree will be a reward for Amina and Sophia."

On March 10, Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff claiming the lives of everyone on board including 18 Canadians and two others in the process of becoming permanent residents.

Flight data shows the aircraft erratically ascending and descending before the fatal dive.

The crash of the Boeing 737 Max 8 was the second of its kind in five months prompting the grounding of the fleet worldwide.

On Tuesday, Ali, along with relatives of other crash victims landed at Toronto's Pearson International Airport with seven caskets. They were met by a ceremonial honour guard of fire trucks on the tarmac.

For Ali, it's been a long process waiting for repatriation to be arranged after the remains were finally identified through DNA.

At Friday's funeral, Imam Jamal Taleb commended the Canadian government for repatriating the victims to allow the families to have some closure.

Families of Canadians killed on the flight have launched a lawsuit against plane-maker Boeing as U.S. lawmakers continue to investigate the crash.