Hamilton

Hamilton hosting vigil to remember family that died in Ethiopian Airlines crash

There will be a public vigil in Hamilton this weekend to remember a local family of five — including a nine-month-old baby and her two siblings — who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
Rubi Wangui Njuguna is one of 157 people, including 18 Canadians, who died in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on March 10. There will be a vigil in Hamilton on Saturday to remember her and her family. (Kenyan Community in Ontario)

There will be a public vigil in Hamilton this weekend to remember a local family of five — including a baby and her two siblings — who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The Kenyan Community of Ontario is holding the vigil Saturday in Hamilton city council chambers.

Seven-month-old Rubi Wangui Njuguna was killed in the March 10 crash, as was her 60-year-old grandmother Ann Wangui Karanja, her 34-year-old mother Carolyne Karanja, her seven-year-old brother Ryan and her sister Kelly, who was four.

Carolyne Karanja and her children had lived in Hamilton since 2014. Her mother had come to visit in August for three months but extended her stay. 

The family was heading to Kenya to see Carolyne Karanja's father, Quindos, who would meet his granddaughter for the first time.

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

The vigil will not only honour the Karanja family, but the 157 victims who died in the crash, the Kenyan Community in Ontario said in a statement.

"This tragedy transcends regions and national borders, affecting people from multiple nations both in Canada and across the globe," it said in a notice about the vigil. "The Kenyan community is extremely devastated by this catastrophic and heart wrecking event."

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. Rubi was a Canadian citizen.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Wednesday that the deaths were tragic regardless of where the 157 people were from. But some of them being from Hamilton made it a little more personal.

"It hits closer to home," he said. "It always does."

Local teacher Dawn Tanner also died in the crash. Tanner, 47, was the department head for the special education program at Hagersville Secondary School.

The vigil will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at 71 Main St. W.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca