Gloria Wangari’s one and a half year long anticipation to reunite with her mother was cut short following the Ethiopian airline crash that happened on Sunday.
Her mother, Florence Wangari, who was a Kenyan missionary worker, was among the 157 people on board in the plane that claimed the lives of 32 Kenyans.
According to her husband, Peter Kimani, Florence left for Democratic Republic of Congo nearly a year and a half ago.
Speaking to the Standard, Kimani stated: “She told us she would arrive at 10am on Sunday morning but didn’t tell us the flight number, so we were assuming she was on the next flight out of Addis Ababa.”
The eleven-year old girl standard four pupil and her father had traveled for over 7-hours from Kisumu to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Sunday, alongside other relatives who joined them to welcome Wangari back home.
Soon after they arrived at the airport, their excitement turned into worry after the expected flight did not arrive at 10:15am as scheduled.
Kimani’s efforts to inquire from the Ethiopian Airplanes staff the reason behind the delay were unfruitful.
The family’s excitement soon turned into worry after their 11-year old caught a glimpse of the news regarding the Ethiopian Airlines crash on the television at the lobby.
Kimani revealed: “I didn’t even know there was a plane crash. It was my daughter who saw the news and informed me.”
However, despite confirmation that flight ET 302 had crashed moments after takeoff, Kimani still kept hoping that his wife was on a different flight.
The next Ethiopian airlines flight ET 304 landed at 4pm, with Kimani and his daughter hoping and praying that Wangari was in that particular flight, and not the ill-fated ET 302.
They eagerly watched as the passengers streamed out one by one until none was left. This was when it finally dawned on Kimani that his beloved wife must have been on the plane that had crashed.
“The way is clear now. All passengers who landed have passed through, Wangari was not among them. I think now we just have to accept that she was on the other flight,” a distraught Kimani stated.
He went on to reveal that he hadn’t talked to his late wife in a week as he was working in Moyale where network coverage hindered his efforts.