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Redding community mourns brothers among 157 killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Two Redding brothers were on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed Sunday morning, killing all 157 people on board, multiple local news outlets have reported.

Identified as Melvin and Bennett Riffel, the brothers were on vacation and had been in Australia prior to traveling to Africa, as reported Monday by the Redding Record Searchlight.

The brothers attended Shasta High School and St. Joseph Church and School for elementary school, as reported by KRCR, and the latter school was seen Monday adorned by flowers in the Riffels’ memory.

St. Joseph is holding a prayer service at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday for Melvin and Bennett Riffel, the church said in a Facebook post.

Melvin Riffel’s wife, Brittney, is expecting a baby daughter in May, KRCR reported.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after after taking off from Addis Adaba in Ethiopia.

The crash marked the second accident in less than six months for Boeing’s new 737 MAX 8 model. The 737 MAX 8 has not been grounded by most major U.S. airlines as of Tuesday morning. Regulators in several other countries – China, Australia and most recently the United Kingdom, as reported by the Associated Press – announced that its 737 MAX 8 aircraft would be grounded.

Southwest Airlines operates 34 of the craft.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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