Devastated Yorkshire family fly to Ethiopia following airline disaster to visit crash site

Joseph Waithaka, among the 157 people tragically killed on board Ethiopian Airlines plane ET302
Joseph Waithaka, among the 157 people tragically killed on board Ethiopian Airlines plane ET302
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THE wife and eldest son of a Hull man who died aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 have flown to Ethiopia to visit the crash-site where the aircraft came down 10 days ago.

Joseph Waithaka, 55, who lived in the city for a decade, was on his way back to Kenya from a trip to see his family and meet his two-month-old granddaughter when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after leaving Addis Ababa, on March 10.

His wife Jane, who lives locally, and eldest son Ben Kuria, from Croydon, are due to visit the site either today or tomorrow.

The hope is they can be joined in Kenya by other members of the family - a daughter and son and their spouses - next week.

It comes as a church in Hull has raised more than £1,000 towards a £9,000 goal so that the whole family can be together with Mr Waithaka’s siblings in Kenya to mourn.

Pastor and family friend Steve Whittington, from Jubilee Church, who is behind the Gofundme appeal, said many people who were contributing did not know the family personally but wanted to send their love.

He said: “Although Joseph was born in Kenya he lived and worked in Hull and people rally round. People are compassionate, they understand death is terrible, but especially when it is in such shocking circumstances.”

DNA testing to identify his remains could take many months and his family say there is a chance there may not be any.

He said the family was taking “a step at a time” but were still in shock: “I think they are a very close family, obviously their Christian faith is sustaining them in a difficult time.”

The former probation officer, one of seven Britons to die in the crash, had moved back to his native Kenya in 2015, but would regularly visit England.

Nations including America have grounded the Boeing plane amid suspicions that faulty software might have contributed to two crashes in less than six months. Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people.

To contribute visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-a-hull-family?