Families grieve for victims of EgyptAir crash

As the search continues to find the remains of the 66 passengers and crew on board the fatal EgyptAir flight, families of the victims tell their stories.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A relative of the victims of the missing EgyptAir flight MS804 reacts after a symbolic funeral in a mosque near Cairo airport, in Cairo Egypt May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Updated May 24, 2016

The families of the sixty six passengers and crew members who died after the crash of the EgyptAir flight MS804 have the grim task of having to face the reality that their loved ones are no longer around. 

The airbus went missing after departing from the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport on Wednesday. On Friday morning, the chilling news of debris and body parts found in the ocean, confirmed the crash of the EgyptAir flight.

“We tried to console ourselves and convince ourselves that it could be anything else other than the expected tragedy. Even when the minister spoke, we thought maybe…until news came this morning that the debris had been found…that changed everything for us,” a family member told Al-Bawaba news.

Till now, only clues as to what unfolded moments before the crash have been released by France Aviation authorities.

According to a spokesman for France's BEA air accident investigation agency, there were a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board the EgyptAir flight shortly before it disappeared off radar screens.

While much clarity is still needed on what really happened to the airbus, families of the victims continue to be in shock.

Marwa Hamdy, a 42 year old mother of three, who was on a business trip in France, was one of those who was on board of the doomed flight.

"My heart sank," her cousin Sherine Abdel Hamid told Reuters by phone, describing the moment she first learned the plane had crashed.

Film Director, Osman Abou Laban announced on his Facebook page that he had lost his uncle Salah Abou Laban and his wife, his cousin Ghassan, and his cousin’s wife. Prayers for the deceased were held on Friday at the Sultan Al-Hussein mosque in Cairo, Egypt.

Abou Laban's family who was on the EgyptAir flight. Photo source: Osman Abou Laban's Facebook profile.

A further three children are orphaned after their mother and father both died in the plane crash. Reham Mosaad was an assistant teacher at the Modern Academy for Computer Science and Management, in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and together with husband Ahmed Al-Ashry were returning to Egypt after a one month stay in France where she was receiving treatment for a fatal illness.

According to the The Insider, an independent student newspaper at Modern Academy, “After [Mosaad’s] father recently passed away, her husband spared no effort in relieving her pain and trying to keep her alive. He sold everything he owned in order to do so, hoping to find a cure [for her disease].

He finally decided to travel to Paris to look for hope. Even though he was advised to stay in Egypt and accept God’s will, but he insisted on travelling with her.”

“The couple leave behind three children who are not old enough to realise that they will wait [for their parents’ return] forever. May God bless their souls and grant their children and family patience,” The Insider continued.

Assistant teacher, Reham Mosaad and husband, Ahmed Al-Ashry. Photo source: The Insider Modern Academy facebook profile.

Reuters spoke to the mother of Samar Ezzedine, a 27 year old newly wed, who was one of the cabin crew members on Flight 804. She is still in shock and said, "She is missing, who hosts a funeral for a missing person?" she murmured.

EgyptAir has told relatives of the victims that recovering and identifying bodies from the sea could take weeks, adding to the pain and uncertainty of grieving families.

Many families have left Cairo to return to their homes in order to find solace with close family members and arrange funerals for the deceased.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities have deployed a robot submarine in their search to locate the black box recorders which contain cockpit voice recordings and data readings and should be able to shed some light on what happened to the fateful EgyptAir flight.

TRTWorld and agencies