'Will Call You Once I Land': Newlywed Shares Last Text Wife Sent Him from Doomed Ethiopian Plane

Odette Odendaal
Mar 12, 2019
01:55 P.M.

The crash of an Ethiopian airlines plane prompted swift action from other airlines while a newlywed shared his bride’s last words to him moments before the tragedy occurred.


Shikha Garg, a UN consultant with the Environment Ministry, married Soumya Bhattacharya almost three months ago after the couple dated for three years.

As consultant attached to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Shikha had to attend a United Nations Environment Programme meeting in Nairobi.

Initially, the couple had planned to travel to Kenya together, but Soumya had to change his plans last minute and stayed behind in New Delhi. Shikha would have returned on Saturday after which the couple planned to go on vacation.


While waiting for her plane to take off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, Shikha sent her husband a text, “I have boarded the flight and will call you once I land,” she wrote.

Flight ET 302 took off at 8:38 am, and contact with it was lost six minutes later before the plane plowed through a field 60 km southeast of Addis Ababa.

Soumya picked up his phone to reply and instead it started buzzing in his hand. The caller told him that the plane his wife was on, just crashed.


Newlywed Shikha was one of four Indian nationals and part of a total of 157 people that died in the crash on Sunday. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 with passengers from 35 countries on board, crashed within minutes of its early morning takeoff.

The other three Indian nationals that died in the crash are Nukavarapu Manisha, Vaidya Pannagesh Bhaskar, and Vaidya Hansin Annagesh.

Five of the passengers came from Germany; six were from Egypt. France and Britain had seven people each while the US, China, and Italy each had eight people on board. Nine people came from Ethiopia and 18 from Canada, Kenya made up the rest of the passengers with a count of 32.


The Indonesian Lion Air plane crash that killed 189 passengers and crew last October was the same type of plane, and it caused airlines worldwide to withdraw the same model from their flight schedules.

The day following the crash, Indian regulators ordered extra maintenance checks on all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes and ruled out an immediate grounding of the fleet. Currently, India’s Jet Airways and Spicejet operate 17 of these type of airplanes.


After the crash, Ethiopian Airlines announced a grounding of certain planes as well:

When Kechi turned out to be the sole survivor in a plane crash that killed 107 people when she was sixteen years old, no one thought she was going to make it. She had a 30% chance of survival with third degree burns all over her body.

Not only did the 28-year-old from Texas survive, but she went on to inspire millions of people with her story.

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