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Tragic Twist In Crash Of Doomed Ethiopian Airlines Plane

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed killing all 157 people on board.

Now it has been revealed that 19 of those killed were UN staff members.

According to a statement from the UN the staff 'perished in the crash'. 

"The World Food Programme (WFP) lost six staff, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) lost two, as did the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan, World Bank and UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) each lost one staff member. Six staff from the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) were also tragically killed," the statement read.

One of those who tragically lost their lives was UN animal campaigner Joanna Toole. The young British national was on her way to hold workshops with local fisherman as part of her role.

Joanna was an animal lover who travelled the world for animal advocacy. Photo: Facebook

She had spent the past 15 years working and travelling the world with a focus on animal welfare.

"She had never really wanted to do anything else but work in animal welfare since she was a child," her heartbroken father Adrian Toole told The Sun newspaper. 

Condolences for all onboard have been flooding in, with leaders from every organisation who lost staff members expressing their deepest condolences.

Family members of the victims involved in a plane crash react at Addis Ababa international airport. Photo: AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene

David Beasley, the Director of the WFP, who lost six staff members in the crash said those who were killed should be remembered for their willingness to leave their homes and loved ones behind to "help make the world a better place to live".

The UN and all its agencies will be flying their flags at half-mast as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives.

READ MORE: Questions Raised Over Boeing 737 MAX As It Heads To Australia

READ MORE: Deadly Ethiopian Airlines Crash: Pilot Wanted To Turn Back Before Plane 'Shattered'

Former President Barack Obama has also sent his condolences for all victims and their families on the doomed flight.

"Michelle and I send our deepest sympathies to all who knew the victims of today’s plane crash in Ethiopia," Obama tweeted in the aftermath of the crash.

Sunday's flight left Bole airport in Addis Ababa at 8.38am before losing contact with the control tower just a few minutes later at 8.44am.

"The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and that he wanted to return. He was given the clearance (to return back),"  Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said during his news conference.

The airline has since grounded its entire fleet of the 737-8 MAX.