Two Israelis killed in the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 have been identified as Avraham Matzliah of Ma’ale Adumim and Shimon Re’em of Zichron Ya’akov.
Matzliah, 49, was identified on Monday as a victim of the plane crash on Sunday near Addis Ababa. He was described as a loving father to his twin daughters, who both serve in the Israel Defense Forces, and a man with a good sense of humor. His high-tech work led him to travel often between Israel and Africa. He had apparently been on a trip to close a business deal for the Radwin telecom firm.
Channel 13 news said Re’em once headed up security for two Israeli embassies in South America and then served as head of regional security for El Al Airlines.
According to reports, authorities are having a difficult time locating bodies of the victims, both because some have been scattered and others were burnt in the crash.
All 157 passengers, harkening from some 35 countries, were killed in the crash, which reportedly suffered unstable vertical speed after takeoff and tried to climb before nose-diving to the grouond. The farmer whose land the plane crashed on, Malka Galato, reported seeing small, paper-like objects coming from the plane and strange noises coming from the aircraft before it turned sharply and descended.
Another witness told the Associated Press that smoke came from the rear of the plane, and that it rotated twice in the air before hitting the ground and exploding. The force was so great that few plane parts were visible in the crater left by the crash, and bulldozers had to be brought in to attempt to dig plane parts out of the pit.
The ZAKA emergency response group sent volunteers to Ethiopia just hours after the crash to identify and repatriate the remains of Re’em and Matzliah so they could be afforded a proper burial back in Israel by their families.
A family friend of the Matzliah family, Shimon Misha, told AFP that he flew to Ethiopia to help locate the remains of his friend, but was prevented by investigators. He was allowed, however, to conduct a search for Matzliah’s tefillin.