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Brothers From Redding Among 157 Killed In Ethiopian Plane Crash

REDDING (CBS13) — Two brothers from Redding are among the people killed in the plane crash in Ethiopia Sunday. It's an unthinkable tragedy the only children of Ike and Susan Riffel, Mel and Bennett Riffel, were killed in the crash in Africa.

There was a somber spirit around St. Joseph Church and School Monday as word spread quickly that the two elementary school graduates died in the plane crash. Parishioners have already begun placing flowers at the base of the bell tower in the brothers' memory. The pastor, Father Fred Gucor, visited with their parents Monday.

The family says the brothers were on an adventure before Mel's daughter would be born to his wife Britney in May.

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The two went to Shasta High School where Bennett was in the choir. Music teacher Gavin Spencer said he did a very convincing job.

"He was a knight in Madrigal dinner his senior year, and people were scared to death of him because he was a big guy, he had long dark hair and he did not smile, he had the perfect stone cold knight face," said Spencer. "Kids were very intimidated by him, but he was one of the nicer kids."

Bennett and Mel's mother, Susan, is the parish secretary. The parish is trying to help them with spiritual and temporal needs.

"We're going to be setting up an Entree Express account because that seems to be the way to help people, provide them with some distance so they have their privacy, but also they don't have to worry about meals," said St. Joseph School Principal Bill Koppes.

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"The community, we've been through a lot of things this past year, this year. Very supportive community, just this morning after the Mass, people are offering prayer, offering them help, anything, anything," added Father Gucor.

Ike and Susan Riffel are trying to come to grips with the tragedy and through a spokesperson said, "We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from the community. We ask for continued prayers."

Investigators still don't know what caused the plane to go down just six minutes after takeoff. Everyone on the plane, 157 people, were killed.

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