ADDIS ABABA — Thousands mourned the Ethiopian plane crash victims on Sunday, accompanying 17 empty caskets draped in the national flag through the streets of the capital as some victims' relatives fainted and fell to the ground.
The service came one day after officials began delivering bags of earth to family members of the 157 victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is expected to take such a long time.
Family members confirmed they were given a 1 kilogram sack of scorched earth taken from the crash site. Many relatives already have gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia's capital.
The victims Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 came from 35 countries and included many humanitarian workers headed to Nairobi.
Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.