This Ethiopia Airlines crash victim grew up on Jersey Shore

Tim Jimenez
March 12, 2019 - 6:53 am
Matt Vecere

IQAir

UPDATED 9:04 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — One of the victims of the Ethiopia Airlines crash grew up at the Jersey Shore.

READ: Ethiopian crash victims were aid workers, doctors, academics

Matt Vecere was living in California, but home for him is Sea Isle City. He was one of the eight Americans and 157 people who were on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane that went down minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday.

On his blog, Vecere said he wanted to escape the "miserable winters" of the Mid-Atlantic, and after high school he went to college in Florida. But he returned, finishing up at Stockton University in Galloway Township. 

He eventually started to write, and his work appeared in several different publications. His most recent job was as a writer with the environmental tech company, IQAir. 

"Matt, when I knew him at Stockton College, was so full of life and creative energy. He was talented, ambitious, caring, and very committed to writing authentically with truth and voice," said a former professor of his, Mimi Schwartz, who he described on his blog as a mentor. "I was so pleased to see him convert college writing passions into a professional career. What a loss!"

READ: Growing number of Boeing Max 8 planes grounded after crash

In a statment, IQAir said, "We will miss his laugh, his wit, his sense of humor." His friends and colleagues describe Vecere as "an amazing writer, an avid surfer and a truly selfless person." 

There are approximately 350 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in operation worldwide. Some airlines have grounded their Max 8 fleet, but many have not. American Airlines has a few dozen Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in operation. Southwest Airlines has 34. Both companies say they're confident in the safety of the planes.

In the meantime, Boeing says the FAA is telling them they'll have to upgrade safety software on the Max 8 planes by next month. This is a software change that has been in the works since a new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight went down near Indonesia last October, killing 189 people. 

READ: Divers recover jet's data recorder from Indonesia seafloor