Exmouth woman among those feared dead after plane crash in Ethiopia

PUBLISHED: 17:27 10 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:35 11 March 2019

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

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A tribute has been paid to a woman who is among the 157 people feared dead following a plane crash in Ethiopia today (Sunday, March 10).

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

The family of Joanna Toole, who grew up in Exmouth, have been informed that she was on board an Ethiopia Airlines plane which crashed shortly after take off en route to Nairobi in Kenya.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 31 miles south of the capital, shortly after taking off at 8.38am local time.

Her father Adrian was told by Joanna’s partner that she on board the flight hours after his fears were initially raised upon hearing the news of the crash.

Adrian said 36-year-old Joanna, a marine animal welfare consultant, was a rare person who was able to combine her love of animals with being a ‘human person’.

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

He said: “She was truly one of those people about whom people rarely had a bad word to say.

“She was very fond on animals but she was a very human person as well.

“Joanna was quite a soft-hearted individual despite having a pretty tough job. It was a vocation that she has always wanted to do.”

Joanna spent much of her youth in Exmouth and attended the town’s community college before going on to Bicton College to study animal welfare.

She then went to the Anglia Polytechnic University where she studied animal behaviour and has gone on to work for various animal charities.

It was in her role working for the United Nations that she was flying to Nairobi.

Adrian and the rest of Joanna’s family are now waiting to hear if her body can be recovered and returned to the UK.

Joanna was one of ‘at least’ seven Brits on board the plane bound for Kenya.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “Following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, we can confirm at least seven British nationals were on-board flight ET302.

“Our staff at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa are in touch with the relevant authorities in Ethiopia.

“We extend our deepest condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and those affected by this tragic event.”

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