March 11, 2019 8:22 pm
Updated: March 16, 2019 11:22 am

Senior captain who piloted downed Ethiopian plane has connections to Calgary

WATCH: Global News has learned the captain of a downed Ethiopian Airlines plane has connections to Calgary. Family in the city are sharing more about the remarkable young man who they say had such promise. Jill Croteau reports.


Yared Getecho was 28 years old when he was killed in a devastating plane crash that claimed the lives of 157 people. He was a very accomplished and confident pilot with an impeccable record, according to Ethiopian Airlines. The company also said he had logged over 8,000 hours in flight.

Getecho was one of the youngest people in the history of Ethiopian Airlines to be promoted to captain, the airline said.

He was at the controls of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 when the passenger jet went down on Sunday. His aunt, Leila Ali Henry, lives in Calgary and said she is still in shock.

“It can’t be — our boy has gone. I was so proud of him,” Ali Henry told Global News through tears on Monday. “It just seemed unfair.”

WATCH: ‘It’s unfair’ — Aunt of Ethiopian Airlines pilot killed in crash reacts to death of nephew

She said the family is devastated at the loss of her promising nephew.

“He was a rising star,” Henry said. “It’s so hard to see that he is gone.”

28-year-old Yared Getecho

Courtesy Getecho family

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Getecho lived in Ethiopia and leaves behind a young brother and his two grieving parents. Most of his family lives in Nairobi.

“He was the child you would want,” Henry said. “He made his parents so proud; he never disappointed them.”

Ali Henry said the family is anxious to hear exactly what happened but said Getecho would have done everything he could have to land the plane safely.

READ MORE: Ethiopian Airlines crash: These are the Canadian victims

“He called the tower two minutes after takeoff,” Henry said. “He was a very confident pilot, exceptional.

“He said, ‘Hey guys, turn me around, there’s something wrong with this plane,’ and they gave him clearance to turn around and as he was, it just nosedived into the ground.”

There are plans underway for a memorial service, Henry said.

“The tragedy of it is the person he was, and how young he was,” Henry said. “He’s so handsome in his face and just an amazing fellow.”

WATCH: Aunt of Ethiopian Airlines pilot details finding out tragic news about nephew’s plane

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