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US Army Captain among 157 killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash

Then-2nd Lt. Antoine Lewis sends a greeting to Hammond, Indiana from Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan for Independence Day 2012. (U.S. Army/Released)
March 12, 2019

A U.S. Army captain was among the eight Americans who lost their lives in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash on Sunday.

Antoine Lewis, 40, was one of the passengers aboard a plane en route to Nairobi, Kenya, that crashed near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, just six minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 passengers, according to ABC7 Chicago.

Lewis was stationed in Ottawa, Canada, and was on his way to Ethiopia for Christian missionary work during his vacation. He had made numerous trips to Africa for missionary work.

“He went doing the things that he loved, that he had a passion for,” said Antoinette Lewis, his mother. “His passion was just to make a better world, make a better place, both here and our mother country.”

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Lewis had served in Afghanistan and was formerly stationed in North Korea. He was “a decorated military captain,” according to ABC7, and he had pursued his undergraduate and graduate education while climbing the ranks in the Army.

He lived in Matteson, a Chicago suburb, with his wife and 15-year-old son. He planned to retire from the military in a few years, and wanted to start a business and move to Africa.

“It is just hard to conceive that that particular American, who we are very proud of; I mean, he’s never been in trouble for anything. He’s always been positive,” his father, Rodney Lewis, told CBS Chicago.

The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 is currently under investigation. It was the second Boeing 737 Max 8 crash in less than five months. The first crash in October 2018 – Lion Air Flight 610 – killed all 189 passengers.

After Boeing failed to recall the Boeing 737 Max 8, five countries – Indonesia, Ethiopia, China, Australia and now the U.K. – have banned the planes.