Family of Sheffield native killed in plane crash speaks

March 14, 2019 07:22 PM

NewsChannel 13 spoke with the family of a Berkshire County woman, who was on the Boeing 737 Max 8 that crashed in Ethiopia.

Samya Stumo was heading to several countries in Africa for work when the plane wrecked.


Samya graduated from Mount Everett High School in Sheffield in 2011. She went on to get her degree in public health from UMass Amherst, eventually even getting her masters from the University of Copenhagen. She started work with a global health company called Thinkwell in January.

Samya was living in Washington, D.C. before her untimely death, but her parents still live in the Berkshires.

Samya's family describes her as ambitious and passionate about revolutionizing global health. Her brother Adnaan spoke with NewsChannel 13 on Thursday.

Adnaan was in New Zealand when his mother called to tell him about the crash.

"I knew that Samya was traveling to Nairobi but I wasn't aware that she was going through Addis Ababa I just thought, 'oh that's kind of scary Samya is over in that part of the world,' and kind of didn't think any more of it for about a half hour," Adnaan said.

WEB EXTRA -- (not seen on TV): - More from brother of Ethiopian plane crash victim as he remembers his sister

He started to worry when he saw some reports on the news. Adnaan said initially, they didn't have Samya's flight information, as it was booked through her employer.

"As soon as I got off talking with my parents for the first time her work mate from London called and said that it was, in fact, her plane," he said.

Adnaan called his parents back to deliver the worst news imaginable.

"The first thing my mom said to me was we got to get over there," he said.

Adnaan's brother and parents went to Ethiopia earlier this week. He said his family members have had a difficult time getting information about Samya's remains.

"My brother told me last night that he feels that all of the bureaucrats that they've been talking to either don't have information or are scared of revealing information for fear of retribution by their higher-ups," Adnaan said.

Samya’s uncle Tarek Milleron said friends of his who are pilots have their reservations about the jetliner.

"It seems that there were very hasty to get these to market and they tried to use the incredible achievement and safety record behind the 737 to extend their profits into the future and they think they abused that legacy and that's clear," Milleron said.

Officials are dealing with remains of 157 victims in this crash. So it's understandable that ID'ing the victims may take some time, but Adnaan said his parents can't even find out where the remains are being kept.

He said he believes an American forensic team has been brought in to help identify the victims. In the meantime, Adnaan said his family is looking for anything of Samya's that can be taken home.

"They just feel like they're banging their heads against the wall trying to have something, personal effects, anything of my sister's to give them some kind of resolution," Adnaan said.

While the Stumos wait for autopsies and investigations to wrap up, they want to share Samya's story. They hope that it will inspire others.

"That's the biggest thing that we can do to honor her that is highlight that and use her as an example for ourselves and for whoever is listening," Adnaan said.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this developing story.


Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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