Yared Gatechew was the pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday killing everyone on board. 

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The 29-year-old pilot never knew that his family would be forced to organize Swalatul Ghai’b, special prayers done in memory of a deceased Muslim whose body is missing.

The special prayers for the dead were carried out on Tuesday at Moi International Airport, Mombasa because his mother is Kenyan and many of his relatives are in Mombasa. However, his father is Ethiopian.

“We are going to conduct the prayers at Baluchi Mosque. We have no other programmes,” family spokesperson, Khalid Shapi, told the Nation.

The family eulogised the pilot as a great man who experienced a smooth career.

“Yared has been an excellent pilot. For the time that he has been working with the Ethiopian Airlines he has never been involved in any mishap. He is a trained pilot operating 737 Max,” Mr Getachew’s uncle Khalid Shapi said.

Meanwhile, the pilot's last words to his mother, Dr Rayan Shapi, were revealed by the family.

His last words, ‘‘I am coming to Nairobi. I have forgotten my phone, but we will talk once I get there.”

His death has shocked family members who are meeting in Nyali as they await body identification process to be completed.