Hamilton

7-month-old baby Rubi and her family among victims of Ethiopian Airlines disaster

One of the youngest victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is seven-month-old Rubi Wangui Njuguna, who was heading from her family's home in Hamilton to Kenya to meet her grandfather for the first time this Easter.

Rubi Wangui Njuguna, her siblings, mother and grandmother were all killed in the crash

Rubi Wangui Njuguna is one of 157 people, including 18 Canadians, who died in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday. (Kenyan Community in Ontario)

One of the youngest victims of a tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people Sunday is seven-month-old Rubi Wangui Njuguna, who was heading from her family's home in Hamilton to Kenya to meet her grandfather for the first time this Easter.

The grandfather, Quindos Karanja, says Rubi's 60-year-old grandmother, Ann Wangui Karanja, was also on the flight — as was Rubi's 34-year-old mother, Carolyne Karanja, her seven-year-old brother Ryan, and her sister Kelly, who was four.

Rubi was the only Canadian citizen in the family.

Quindos Karanja said the family was on its way back to Kenya to see him. On Tuesday, the 60-year-old retired school teacher was trying to come to terms with the shock of losing so many loved ones.

"We don't know what's next," he said in a telephone interview from Kenya.

It's just hard to accept that this has happened. I feel so much loss. And pain. I'm lonely.- Quindos Karanja

The Ethiopian Airlines plane went down moments after takeoff from Addis Ababa's airport Sunday, killing all 157 passengers and crew on board, including 18 Canadians.

Carolyne, a Kenyan, had applied to be a permanent resident in Canada. Ann Karanja travelled to Canada for a visit in August and was supposed to be there for three months but had extended her stay.

Five members of a Hamilton family were killed in an Ethiopian Airlines crash last Sunday: Ann Wangui Karanja, left, Ryan, centre left, Kelly, centre right, and Carolyne Karanja, right. At front is 7-month-old Rubi. (Kenyan Community in Ontario)

Quindos remembered the last text exchange he had with his daughter, Carolyne. He recalled her saying she was excited to go back home, but had a bad feeling and was fearful.

"And she didn't know why she had that bad feeling ... that was my final talk with her," said Karanja, adding that his daughter was the breadwinner of the family.

The grandfather said he knows he has to be strong and accept reality, but he doesn't know how to do that.

"It's just hard to accept that this has happened. I feel so much loss. And pain. I'm lonely."

Investigators examine wreckage at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 on board. (The Associated Press)

Judith Apondi Odhiambo is a member of the Kenyan Community in Ontario organization. She told CBC News the family had been living in Hamilton since about 2014.

"The community is devastated," she said, adding that her organization is planning a vigil for victims of the crash.

"This tragedy transcends regions and national borders, affecting people from multiple nations both in Canada and across the globe."

Sunday's disaster — following another fatal crash of a 737 Max 8 jet in Indonesia five months ago — has caused alarm in the international aviation industry.

Hamilton-area teacher Dawn Tanner also died in the crash. Tanner, 47, was the department head for the special education program at Hagersville Secondary School and worked there since 2005. 

With files from CBC News

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