Former University of Leeds student and aid worker, 25, confirmed dead in Ethiopian Airways crash

A 25-year-old British man killed in the Ethiopian Airways plane crash was a former Yorkshire student.

Sam Pegram, 25, spent three years studying in Leeds
Sam Pegram, 25, spent three years studying in Leeds

Sam Pegram, who was one of 157 victims of the disaster on Sunday, graduated from the University of Leeds in 2015 with a degree in international relations.

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The keen footballer, who was originally from Lancashire, then completed a Masters in international human rights law at the University of York.

His flight crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi. Sam had been working in an aid role for the Norwegian Refugee Council.

His distraught mother Deborah told the Lancashire Evening Post: “Sam was so looking forward to going to Nairobi. He loved the work he was doing.

“We can’t believe this has happened. We’re totally devastated.”

Sam had dedicated his life to humanitarian work and had previously helped refugees in Jordan.

Tributes on social media described him as a 'pioneer' for his hometown of Penwortham.

Airlines all over the world have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes - the model involved in the crash - until further notice following fears over its safety record.

British holiday airline TUI, which has six MAX 8 jets, has not taken the aircraft out of service. TUI, formerly Thomsonfly, flies to Corfu and Majorca from Leeds Bradford Airport and also operates chartered cruise flights.

The aircraft involved in the Ethiopian crash was just a few months old. The model has only been in service since 2017, but was also involved in another fatal accident last October in Indonesia, when an internal Lion Air flight crashed near Jakarta, killing 189. Norwegian, which has several routes from UK airports, has also kept its MAX 8 aircraft flying although they are in close contact with Boeing regarding developments.

A dual British-Kenyan citizen from Hull, former probation officer Joseph Waithaka, 55, was also among those killed in the crash. He had moved back to Kenya but his wife and two children still live in Hull.

In 2014, University of Leeds maths and finance undergraduate Richard Mayne, 20, was one of the British victims of the MH17 disaster, when the Malaysia Airlines plane he was travelling to Australia on was shot down over Ukraine. A memorial bench dedicated to Richard stands outside the student union building.