One of the ZAKA teams left from South Africa, with the other taking off from Ben-Gurion International Airport after being briefed by ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav.
“The members of the ZAKA delegation will leave for Addis Ababa with the objective of doing all they can to locate the remains of the two Israeli victims and bring them to a full Jewish burial. Unfortunately, we have accumulated significant experience in dealing in a professional manner with incidents of this type,” said Meshi-Zahav in a statement.
ZAKA coordinated the effort with Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Israeli Consulate in Addis Ababa, and the Chabad rabbi of Ethiopia, Rabbi Eliyahu Chaviv. The volunteers will serve as an “official delegation from the State of Israel, with the personal approval of the prime minister,” according to ZAKA.
Prior to the arrival of the team, International Red Cross efforts began retrieving the remains of the victims. Images from the site showed bodies shrouded in black tarp coverings with small pieces of debris and personal belongings strewn across the crash area.
Teams were still searching for the flight-data recorder. Heavy machinery was being used to pull pieces of the aircraft from a large crater caused by the crash of the plane.
No information on the cause of the Boeing 737 Max 8’s failure has been released, but a Lion Air jet of the same make crashed into the sea in Indonesia two years ago, killing all 189 passengers.
Reports indicate that 19 of the victims on Flight 302 were employees of the United Nations on their way to a UN environmental conference to take place on Monday in Nairobi.
Ethiopian officials declared a day of mourning for their country on Monday. All its Boeing 737 Max 8s will be grounded pending further investigation.