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Brampton community mourns Ethiopian Airlines crash victims at vigil

Brampton residents offered each other tissues and prayers as they mourned the loss of six community members who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

'I’m hoping all the prayers from the community, that is going to help me,' family member says

Manant Vaidya says he felt relief his Brampton community had the opportunity to commemorate his family. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

Brampton residents offered each other tissues and prayers as they mourned the loss of six community members who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Over 100 people gathered at Brampton City Hall for a vigil in memory of the victims on Sunday, three weeks after the crash that killed 157 people on board.

"I don't know how I'm going to cope. Just think about like, if you've got a roof and the roof goes away, what is going to happen?" Manant Vaidya told CBC Toronto at the vigil for his family members.

"That is currently my state — but I'm hoping all the prayers from the community, that is going to help me."

Vigil attendees placed fresh bouquets, cards and stuffed animals on a table in the centre of the room in Brampton City Hall in memory of the six crash victims. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

Vaidya's parents, Pannagesh Vaidya, 73, and his mother Hansini Vaidya, 67, his sister Kosha Vaidya, 37, and brother-in-law Prerit Dixit, 45, and his teenage nieces, Anushka and Ashka Dixit, died in the crash.

All died shortly after they boarded the flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya for a family vacation over spring break.

Friends and family mourned the loss of the Brampton residents who died in the crash three weeks ago. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

During the vigil, community members placed bouquets, cards and stuffed animals on a table, alongside framed photographs of the Vaidya and Dixit family.

Friends and family held a moment of silence for the victims. 

People of all ages attended the vigil in Brampton. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

They also took turns sharing memories of the six Brampton residents at the microphone.

Vaidya said he felt relief that his family's former classmates and coworkers had the opportunity to commemorate the victims.

His daughter Manasvi Vaidya, 15, spoke about playing cards and hanging out with her two cousins days before they left for their trip. She described March 10, 2019, the day of the crash, as the hardest day of her family's life.

Hiral and Manant Vaidya travelled 11,000 kilometres from their home in Brampton to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia days after the crash in search of their family's remains. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

"I'm very grateful for all the support my family's getting. It's really nice to know that there's a lot of people who cared about them." she told CBC Toronto. 

'We can't ever see them again'

The 15-year-old said she hopes her cousins are remembered as loving and talented people, adding that Anushka would have become the greatest scientist and Ashka would have become the greatest singer.

"Now that they're gone, it's really heartbreaking to know that we can't ever see them again but I know that they're in a better place now," she added. 

Family members of the crash victims traveled to the city from India for the vigil. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

Brampton city officials, including Mayor Patrick Brown also paid their respects.

Brown told attendees the city wanted to hold a vigil at city hall "for an opportunity for collective grief." 

The vigil took place at Brampton City Hall three weeks after the crash. (Maggie Macintosh/CBC)

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