Three generations of a Brampton family are among the 18 Canadians who died Sunday when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa airport en route to Nairobi, killing all 157 passengers and crew members.
Prerit Dixit, 43, and Kosha Vaidya, 37, were headed to Kenya for March Break to introduce their teenaged daughters, Anushka and Ashka Dixit, to Ms. Vaidya’s birthplace. Accompanying them on the same flight were her parents, Pannagesh and Hansini Vaidya, aged 73 and 67.
The family vacation to Kenya, including a planned safari, was supposed to be Ms. Vaidya’s first visit to her birthplace in decades. “Kosha was born in Mombasa, and she also wanted to show that place to her daughters," family member Premal Vyas said in an interview.
Relatives in Canada are experiencing “an emotional breakdown" over the news, but have not begun to make funeral or memorial arrangements, Mr. Vyas said. “They are not, right now, in the best state of mind" to make plans, he said of his sister, Hiral, and her husband, Manant Vaidya. Mr. Vaidya is the brother of Kosha Vaidya.
Anushka, 13, and Ashka, 14, were students at Centennial Sr. Public School and Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton, a city northwest of Toronto. In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Peel District School Board said the tragedy “has brought great sadness to the students and staff.” Though schools are currently closed, online and phone support services are still available over the holiday.
Ashka Dixit studied Indian classical music at the Swar Gunjan Music Academy, said her teacher of eight years, Pramesh Nandi. He saw the Dixits weekly for Ashka’s hour-long lessons.
“I feel that it’s like I’ve lost my family,” Mr. Nandi said in an interview, repeating that he was “very deeply saddened and very deeply disturbed. We cried a lot yesterday. It is really unbelievable.” He shared a stage with Ashka last year at a community event in nearby Vaughan, Ont. His academy lost a very talented student, he said.
Though not interested in music to the same degree as her older sister, Anushka was also artistic, Mr. Nandi said, and enjoyed drawing and ice skating.
The girls’ father, Mr. Dixit, had worked as a lab technologist at Ontario Public Health and at Lifelabs, a medical-testing service, in downtown Toronto, said Bhairvi Shah, a former colleague, in messages to The Globe and Mail. In her time as an intern at the provincial health organization, Mr. Dixit encouraged her and helped look out for career opportunities, Ms. Shah said.
Mr. Dixit’s wife, Ms. Vaidya, was a human-resources adviser at the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) starting from 2017. “She was a remarkable person and a valued member of our team, who had a brilliant future ahead of her,” said Julia Dumanian, president and CEO of the CHS, in a statement to The Globe. “She will be greatly missed and remembered for her intelligence, professionalism and dynamic personality.”
Flags at Brampton City Hall will be lowered to half-mast in memory of the Dixit and Vaidya family, Mayor Patrick Brown said in a Twitter post.
With a report from The Canadian Press.