U.S. service member among 8 Americans killed in Ethiopia plane crash

8 Americans killed in plane crash

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — New details are emerging about the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash Sunday, that claimed 157 lives. Eight of the dead were American, including two brothers and a U.S. service member on vacation.

At the crash site, CBS News witnessed unrestrained grief, as the mother of one of the flight attendants on board broke down. It couldn't be more miserable there, as the smell of death overpowers and bits of mangled wreckage are everywhere.

At the site, local investigators were joined by a team of American aviation experts who are searching for answers. In the U.S. another mother grieves her son Antoine Lewis, an American service member who was heading for Kenya on vacation.

"I will say that plane went down with him doing what he wanted to do most. As a mother, you just say he did what he loved to do," said Antoinette Lewis, his mother.

Ethiopian policemen search through the passengers belongings at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa
Ethiopian policemen search through the passengers belongings at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 12, 2019. Reuters

Brothers Mel and Bennett Riffel, from Redding, California, were on one last adventure before Mel's wife was due to have their baby in May.  

"He was the most loving, most joyful, most positive person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. There's nothing that we won't miss about him," said Jordan Webb, a family friend.

At the crash site, a man's dress shirt, a scribbled to do list and a tiny purple fairy princess dress reveal the lives of the victims. It's a trail of heartbreak formed by personal belongings scattered among the twisted metal.

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