Virtually none of the bodies of the 157 in the Ethiopian airline crash will ever be recovered

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A relative mourns at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Families and friends who traveled to Ethiopia in hopes of retrieving anything left behind by their loved ones will be forced leave with almost nothing.

According to CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde Gebremariam who spoke to BBC, most of the bodies were reduced to ashes by the intense heat and impact after the crash.

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“By the time I reached the site on Sunday the plane was completely underground and there was no sign of it above the ground. We had to dig up the wreckage to try and find bodies,” said Gebremariam.

The Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed on Sunday, killing all 157 aboard. It carried passengers from 30 countries and 21 United Nations staff members.

On Thursday, relatives of the dead stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines staff in the Skylight Hotel near Bole International Airport. Many accused the airline and government of lacking transparency.

The angry family members left the meeting at the hotel, saying that they are frustrated by a lack of answers to their questions.

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Gebremariam in the interview said that the airline was doing everything in it’s power to find any body but added that the debris has been broken into thousands of small pieces, making the task of recovering each part complex.

“It is very sad that we were not able to get bodies. We only have very small pieces of the remains. That is the main challenge we have now. I pass my deepest sympathy and condolence to friends and relatives of the passengers who were on ET 302. The families are coming to Addis to visit that site and we are facilitating that.” he said. 

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