South Carolina

Army captain, son-in-law of SC principal, died in Ethiopia crash ‘doing what he loved’

Plane parts strewn across field where Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed

Air crash investigators and Red Cross workers retrieved remains and personal items belonging to the passengers and crew members who were on flight ET302. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft came down minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa.
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Air crash investigators and Red Cross workers retrieved remains and personal items belonging to the passengers and crew members who were on flight ET302. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft came down minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa.

United States Army Capt. Antoine Lewis was one of the 157 people who died when an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed outside Addis Ababa. His mother-in-law, a South Carolina elementary school principal, said Lewis “wanted to live his life to its fullest and was executing plans to tour Africa and reconnect with his roots,” according to WCBD.

Wanda Williams, principal of Pye Elementary School in North Charleston, said in a statement to WCBD: “Antoine was an accomplished Officer in the U.S. Army. We pray that God rests his soul and gives us all in the Lewis, Lopez, Gadsden, and Williams’ families strength and peace of heart knowing that he died in pursuit of what brought him joy.”

Lewis, a Chicago-area native, was based in Ottowa, Canada, with the Army, The Chicago Tribune reports. He lived in Ottowa with his 15-year-old son. Lewis’s wife is also with the Army and based in Washington D.C., according to the newspaper.

“Antoinette Lewis said her brother had hoped to retire to Africa — he had yet to pick the exact country, but knew he wanted to return to his ancestral roots — and was in the process of talking his family into following him there,” the Tribune reports.

“He went down in that plane doing what he loved to do,” his mother, also named Antoinette Lewis, said, according to the Tribune.

Lewis served with the Army in Afghanistan, starting as an enlisted soldier to become a decorated Army captain, ABC7 in Chicago reports.

“He was also stationed in South Korea, he was a military man, he loved it, he was moving up through the military. He went in as an enlisted man and he got his undergraduate degree and his graduate degree. He’s got a 15-year-old son,” his father, Rodney Lewis, told ABC7.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash Sunday put a spotlight on the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, the same kind of plane that crashed in Indonesia in October, NBC News reports.

There are only 350 of the new model Boeings in operation now, McClatchy reports. Several countries, including China, have grounded the new planes while investigators figure out what happened in the two crashes.

United States regulators have so far rejected calls to stop Boeing 737 MAX flights, according to NBC News.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.


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