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Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi
(Photo from the Canadian Press)

These are the Canadian victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash

There were 18 Canadians among the people aboard an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jetliner en route to Nairobi when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10.

Officials confirmed that day all 157 passengers from more than 30 countries died in the crash.

The Canadians on board include a mother and daughter from Edmonton, a Carleton University professor from Ottawa and several people affiliated with the United Nations.

Here’s what we know so far about the Canadian victims of the crash.

Pius Adesanmi

Carleton University graduate Halima Sogbesan described the Nigerian-born professor in a social media post as someone who made the campus feel like home to his students, and who told them they were “capable of great things.”

Adesanmi taught in the Ottawa university’s Department of English Language and Literature and the Institute of African Studies, and was a well-known writer in Nigeria, reports the Globe and Mail.

According to Benoit-Antoine Bacon, the school’s president and vice-chancellor, he was a “towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship.”

On the day before  the crash, Adesanmi shared a photo of himself with his passport on Facebook, along with the bible verse, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

Amina Ibrahim Odowa and her daughter Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir

Odawa, 33, and Sofia, 5, were both from Edmonton, where CBC reports Odawa’s two surviving daughters are in the care of their grandmother.

Odawa’s bother said the Somalian-born mother flew out of Toronto with her daughter on Saturday. They were on their way to visit family in Kenya, where Odawa grew up.

The Toronto Star reports Odawa immigrated to Canada in 2006.

Derick Lwugi

Derick Lwugi was an accountant for the City of Calgary who leaves behind a wife and three children, aged 17, 19 and 20. According to multiple reports, the family has lived in Calgary for 12 years.

Lwugi was on his way to western Kenya to visit his and his wife’s parents when he became a victim of the crash.

“His mom was not feeling well,” Lwugi’s wife, Gladys Kivia, told the Canadian Press in an interview from Calgary.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Kivia described him as someone who loved people, and could be relied on to help a friend in need.

“If people had any needs or problems, he was there to, you know, organize people around that family or whatever they needed,” she said.

In a tweet on March 10, Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was “absolutely crushed” to learn of Lwugi’s death.

Danielle Moore

Danielle Moore had been invited to attend the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi and was on her way there on the Ethiopian Airways jet when it crashed.

“Over the next week I’ll have the opportunity to discuss global environmental issues, share stories, and connect with other youth and leaders from all over the world,” she wrote on Facebook a day before the crash. “I feel beyond privileged to be receiving this opportunity, and want to share as much with folks back home.”

Born in Toronto, she was living in Winnipeg, where CBC reports she worked for the charity Canada Learning Code.

Moore’s brother David Moore described her in a message to CBC via Facebook.

“She always strived to make the world a better place,” he said.

Peter DeMarsh

Peter DeMarsh was chair of the International Family Forestry Alliance and former chair of the Taymouth Community Association in New Brunswick, where he lived.

A post on the Kenya Forest Service Facebook page said DeMarsh was travelling to Nairobi to attend a workshop on “access to international climate finance for small holder farmers.”

David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick, offered his condolences to DeMarsh’s family on social media.

“My deepest sympathy to Jean and their son Luke,” he said. “Goodbye old friend. You gave so much of yourself in service to the common good.”

Jessica Hyba

Jessica Hyba has been identified by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as one of its Canadian-born employees. According to the UNHCR, she was working as its senior external relations officer.

In a social media post, Gillian Barth with CARE Canada identified Hyba as a former colleague and friend.

“She was a devoted humanitarian and cherished mother,” Barth said. “The world has lost an irreplaceable human being.”

Stéphanie Lacroix

Stéphanie Lacroix had just graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2015, and by 2018 she was working as a project officer with the United Nations Association in Canada.

According to her LinkedIn profile, her job involved engaging young Canadians in national service projects through the UN’s Canada Service Corps.

She was also a board member of the African Community Fund for Education Canada and a former volunteer with Free the Children.

In a post on Facebook, her uncle, Gille Lamarche, described Lacroix as “a young beautiful service leader.”

Lamarche said Lacroix was living her dream after completing an honours degree in international studies.

“RIP my beautiful niece. You are loved and will always be. You leave an exceptional legacy of love and service, and will be missed by thousands,” he said. “You left your mark without a doubt and made a BIG difference. Earth lost an angel, and heaven gained one more.”

CBC reports Lacroix grew up in Timmins.

Micah Messent

Micah Messent, an Indigenous relations analyst with the BC Public Service and environmentalist, described the aim of his work as “constructively deconstructing the status quo.”

It was that work that called him to Nairobi, when he was invited by the United Nations Association of Canada to attend the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly.

In a post to Instagram, he said attending the assembly would provide him with a chance to “meet with other passionate youth and leaders from around the world and explore how we can tackle the biggest challenges that are facing our generation.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Messent graduated from Vancouver Island University with a bachelor in indigenous studies in 2017.

Dixit-Vaidya family

Six members of a Brampton, Ont. family were among the victims of the crash that killed 18 Canadians. Spanning three generations, they are being remembered within their Brampton community as loving people.

Sisters Anushka Dixit, 13, and Ashka, 14, were on the jet with their mother, 37-year-old Kosha Vaidya, their father, 45-year-old Prerit Dixit, and Indian grandparents Pannagesh and Hansini Vaidya.

The family was travelling to Kenya for a safari, CP reports.

Although the grandparents were originally from India, they lived in Kenya for several years before moving back to India, and Kosha was born there. This would have been her first trip back to her birthplace in decades.

It was not immediately clear if Pannagesh Vaidya and Hansini Vaidya were Canadian citizens, but they are not.

Angela Rehhorn

Like so many other victims of the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash, Angela Rehhorn was on her way to Kenya with the United Nations Association of Canada to attend the UN assembly in Nairobi.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation confirmed March 11 that Rehhorn, one of the organization’s Canadian Conservation Corps participants, died in the plane crash.

According to a statement by the federation, Rehhorn was a recent graduate of Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University but had already made “tremendous contributions” to the future of conservation. The release said she had just completed volunteering her time to do species surveys in Canada and was developing a citizen science project on bat conservation. It said she planned to gain more experience studying marine environments.

“Angela shared the excitement and optimism of volunteering and working to improve our world. Her life is an inspiration to us all,” said Rick Bates, CEO of the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Darcy Belanger

Darcy Belanger helped found environmental non-profit Pavarti.org, and it was the organization that confirmed his death “with deep grief” in a statement on March 11.

At the time of his death, Belanger had been working to spread awareness about an initiative called the Marin Arctic Peace Sanctuary.

Belanger had taken time off from his job as director of professional development at construction company PCL to travel to Nairobi for the UN Environment Assembly, the statement said.

“Admired for his courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities, Darcy was a hero in every sense of the word. He was passionately devoted to the protection of all life through the realization of MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary,” the statement said.

“Darcy was truly a champion and a force of nature, one whose passing leaves an unimaginable gap in this work as well as in the lives of his family, friends and colleagues.”

Ameen Ismail Noormohamed

Ameen Ismail Noormohamed was a 72-year-old Canadian citizen who lived in Nairobi and Toronto and travelled between Kenya and Canada.

Global reports he had been in Toronto visiting his sister and was on his way back to Kenya when he became a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Rubi Pauls

One of the youngest victims of the plane crash was nine-month-old Rubi Pauls, a Canadian, who was on her way to meet her grandfather for the first time in Kenya. Grandfather Quindos Karanja says Rubi’s grandmother, 60-year-old Ann Wangui Karanja, her mother, 34-year-old Carolyne Karanja and her seven-year-old brother Ryan, and sister Kerri, who was four were also on the flight. Only Rubi was a Canadian citizen. 

Dawn Tanner

Dawn Tanner’s son, Cody French, described her in a Facebook post as “an extraordinary woman” who made her sons proud with her acts of kindness and compassion toward others.

You have played a major role in shaping who we have become,” he said, addressing his late mother. “We are both so fortunate to have had you as a Mother and we can both live the rest of our lives knowing, wholeheartedly, that Hunter and I were your world and that you were extremely proud of both of us. 

Tanner was a 47-year-old Hamilton-area teacher, whose death was confirmed by the Grand Erie District School Board, CBC reports.

With files from the Canadian Press.