It was too much to bear. She feared she would have nothing of her loved one, no body, no remains to bury.

She took handfuls of dirt and flung it in her own face, overcome.

More families arrived yesterday at the site of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people. They came with the hope that they could bring some trace of their loved ones home.

Some fell to their knees in grief when they learned there was nothing left. Others hurled themselves forward, wailing, or staggered in relatives' arms.

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The mourning was mixed with frustration. For some, their beliefs dictated that they must have something to bury.

Moshi Biton of Israel, who lost his brother, Shimon Daniel Re'em Biton, said if the remains were not found, "they will stay missing for the rest of the life and we cannot do that in our religion".

Some Muslim families fretted. A body must be buried as soon as possible.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox religion, bodies are buried a day after death.

Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn and grieve at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board. Photo / AP
Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn and grieve at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board. Photo / AP

Many of the grieving gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa. The dead came from 35 countries.

Some families came bearing large framed photographs of the dead. In one, a victim wore a graduate's cap and gown, a source of immense pride. Others arriving wore black T-shirts printed with a photo in remembrance.

In the background, searchers carrying large clear plastic bags continued to move slowly through the rubble, looking for more.

- AP