EgyptAir flight passengers included businessmen, parents
Paris – — The 66 people lost aboard EgyptAir Flight 804 included a businessman adored by his colleagues, a language and history scholar and a mother caring for a daughter with cancer. A look at the lives of the dead:
Ahmed Helal was a business executive who directed Procter and Gamble’s Amiens manufacturing site. His death sent shock waves through the northern French town.
The 41-year-old French-Egyptian husband and father with the bright smile was a beloved figure at the consumer-goods company, which described his disappearance as a “huge loss.”
Helal was taking a vacation when the Cairo-bound plane went down Thursday south of the Greek island of Crete.
P&G spokeswoman Segolene Moreau told the Associated Press that Helal was “extremely valued by his employees. He really was exemplary.”
Footage of Helal alongside Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron during his recent visit to Amiens dominated French news coverage of the crash. A regional lawmaker, Deputy Alain Gest, described Helal as “endearing.”
He held a variety of manager positions after joining P&G in his native Egypt in 2000. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the American University in Cairo in 1999, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Mohammed Saleh Zayada was a 62-year-old UNESCO scholar who specialized in translation and history and was one of five brothers.
Zayada’s brother Malek said his older sibling was heading to Sudan through Egypt to visit relatives and to mourn his mother, who died just four days before the crash.
He was supposed to head to Sudan 10 days before the crash but had to postpone because of work. “He wanted to see my mother before she died. He wanted to see her. He felt so bad for missing her,” the brother said.
Malek Zayada said that that his Sudanese-French brother spoke to him while boarding the plane and that he was waiting for him Thursday at the Khartoum airport when he heard that the plane was missing.
“It was a big shock and lots of confusion,” he said, but families still had hope. “Then we were told it crashed when hope vanished,” he said.
Zayada said his brother had a wife and four children in France, with the youngest 10 years old.
Frenchman Pierre Heslouin was a 74-year-old management consultant from the Paris suburb of Val-de-Marne.
Heslouin was using the trip to spend time with his son, 41-year-old Quentin Heslouin, who lived in London. The family was still mourning the death of Pierre’s wife, Edith, who died in 2015 after a long illness.
The elder Heslouin leaves behind four other children and nine grandchildren. National and local media said he was widely loved for helping to get the jobless back to work and for serving as a local councilor.
Sahar Khoga was a Saudi woman who had worked at her country’s embassy in Cairo for 13 years. She was in Paris to follow up on her daughter’s medical treatment there.
According to the Saudi daily newspaper Okaz, the 52-year-old was visiting her daughter Sally, 22, who was battling cancer.
A cousin told the newspaper that Khoga had been accompanied on the trip by relatives, including her sister and their sons. The sister and her sons returned two days before the crash. Only Sahar and her daughter were left in Paris.
Pascal Hess was a freelance music photographer from Evreux in the French region of Normandy who was travelling to Egypt on vacation to see a friend and visit the Red Sea.
Local media reported that the 50-year-old nearly missed out on the trip after he misplaced his passport. He found it after several days of searching.
Friend Didier Roubinoff confirmed that Hess was among those on Flight 804 via Facebook and posted a photo of him with the caption “Adieu, my friend.”
A 2010 video on YouTube shows Hess in a black shirt and trademark shades talking about capturing the energy and excitement of local rock concerts with his lens.
Mohammed Shoukair, 36, was remembered as a hardworking aviator who sought all his life to be a pilot.
A childhood friend, Sherif al-Metanawi, said that family and friends are “traumatized especially about the body, whether it will be found or remain to be missing.”
“This is what is ripping our hearts apart, when we think about it. When someone you love so much dies, at least you have a body to bury.”
Al-Metanawi had known Shoukair since they were children in the Giza district of Badrasheen.
The last time the two met was on Saturday, when Shoukair came to attend a funeral. A week earlier, the pair had a large gathering with friends, and al-Metanawi teased his friend about being single, asking whether he was going to get married.
He said that Shoukair’s father started to realize that hope was dwindling Friday during prayers for the dead.
“I told him if we found him, this will be from God. And if we don’t find him, then it is still from God, because then he will be a martyr.”
Shoukair was the youngest of three children.
Also aboard the flight was a student training at a French military school who was heading to his family home in Chad to mourn his mother.
The protocol officer for Chad’s embassy in Paris, Muhammed Allamine, said the man “was going to give condolences to his family.” Allamine said the man, who was not identified, was a student at France’s prestigious Saint-Cyr army academy.
Another passenger was an Egyptian man returning home after medical treatment in France, according to two friends who turned up at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
“It breaks my heart,” said one friend, Madji Samaan.
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