Ethiopian Airlines said on Saturday that DNA testing of the remains of the 157 passengers on board flight 302 may take up to six months as it offered bereaved families charred earth from the plane crash site to bury.
As families wait for the results from the investigation into the cause of the crash, Ethiopian Airlines is planning to hold a service on Sunday in Addis Ababa, at the Kidist Selassie, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, where many of the country’s past rulers are buried beneath its pink stone spires.
“We were told by the company that we will be given a kilo (of earth) each for burial at Selassie Church for a funeral they will organise,” said one family member who asked not to be named.
Papers given to the families at the Skylight Hotel on Saturday said death certificates would be issued within two weeks, and an initial payment made to cover immediate expenses.
The return of remains – most of which are charred and fragmented – would take up to six months, the papers said, but in the meantime earth from the crash site would be given.
Abdulmajid Sheriff, a Kenyan whose Yemeni brother-in-law died, said they had already held a service.
“We are Muslims we didn’t care about that (earth). We did yesterday our prayers at the mosque and that is all for us.”
U.S. president Donald Trump has praised the Ethiopia national carrier in a call with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday. Abiy’s office said the two had spoken in a phone call which centered on the March 10 crash and on reforms back home.