What little was left was heartbreaking: a battered passport. A torn book. Business cards in many languages.
Seekers in white gloves and canvas shoes spent a second day exploring the scattered remains of the Ethiopian Airlines' 302 aircraft on Monday, pulling the pieces of 157 lives from the scorched earth.
The tattered book, whose pages were sung, seemed to deal with macroeconomics, its passages were highlighted by a careful reader in yellow and pink.
There was a broken keyboard. Playfully printed T-shirts.
There was even a plaintively ringing mobile phone picked up and silenced by a stranger.
The dead came from 35 countries. As their identities were slowly shaken by families, governments and employers, a common strand became clear.
The flight, which started on Sunday morning from the Ethiopian capital and flew into the ground six minutes later, was full of people who were not afraid to tackle – and explore – the world and its problems.
The plane had 32 people from neighboring Kenya, including a law student and a football official, a toll that deafened the country. Ethiopia lost 18 lives.
"A spirit that serves the people of the world …"
Others came from afar to work or play: a satirist. A former ambassador. Tourists An accountant.
But the number of humanitarian workers was alarmingly high.
There were doctors. A child protection worker. Proponents of environmental activists.
They carried high ideals, obscured by secular, bureaucratic names: briefings. Capacity building initiatives.
Addis Ababa and the plane's destination, Nairobi, are popular hubs for aid workers dealing with some of the world's most pressing crises: Somalia. South Sudan. Climate change. Hunger.
"They all had one thing in common: a spirit that serves the people of the world and makes it a better place for all of us," said the UN Secretary-General.
Leaders of the United Nations, the UN Refugee Organization and the World Food Program said colleagues were killed. The United Nations Migration Board estimated that 19 United Nations and affiliated organizations were among the dead. A spokesman for UN Headquarters could not confirm this.
The UN flag blew on Monday with half staff, and Ethiopia was a day of mourning for all.
On Monday, a steady wind blew, as more and more remains were found, and between the core hulls of the hull and wheel, the people flashed.
Behind the yellow band around the crash site crouched figures wrapped in blankets looked.
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