A United Nations consultant attached with the Environment Ministry was among the four Indians who were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday. As many as 157 people were killed when a Boeing 737 Max aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines flying to Nairobi crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on Sunday. The UN consultant has been identified as Shikha Garg.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj identified the deceased Indian nationals as Pannagesh Bhaskar Vaidya, Hansini Pannagesh Vaidya, Dr Nukavarapu Manisha and Shikha Garg. Swaraj has sought help in identifying the families of the deceased.
Garg, a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) consultant, was on her way to attend a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) meeting in Nairobi when the accident happened.
Confirming the death of the UNDP consultant, the foreign minister tweeted: "My colleague Dr.Harshvardhan has confirmed that Ms.Shikha Garg is a Consultant with Ministry of Environment and Forests. She was travelling to attend UNEP meeting in Nairobi. I am trying to reach the families of other Indian nationals."
The Minister has asked the Indian high commissioner in Ethiopia, Rahul Chhabra, to extend all possible help to the families of the victims killed in the crash. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed his condolences on social media: "Anguished by the loss of lives due to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane. My thoughts are with the bereaved families", he tweeted.
The Boeing 737 Max-8 enroute to Nairobi crashed minutes after an early-morning take off from Bole International Airport of the Ethiopian capital, killing all eight crew members and 149 passengers on board.
The Indian embassy in Ethiopia also tweeted about the unfortunate event. "Our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines passenger aircraft today. We are informed that four Indian nationals were on the flight. We are in touch with the airlines & local authorities."
Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 Max-8 until further notice, following the crash. The airline tweeted from the official handle, saying that although the cause behind the accident is still unknown, it has decided to suspend the particular fleet as a precautionary measure.