Family mourns loss of Missouri City sisters killed in Nigeria plane crash

June 4, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
Two sisters were killed in Sunday's plane crash in Nigeria. For their family in the Houston area, the deaths of Jennifer and Josephine Onita are still unimaginable, still shocking.

We spoke with their older sister about the loss at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Missouri City, where their parents are pastors.

To say the family is in mourning is an understatement. The victims' father is in Nigeria to look after things there, and their mother is still unable to speak publicly about the tragedy. Their older sister, who's never gone a day without talking to them, is now beginning a future without them.

On one side of the picture is Jennifer Onita, a former NASA employee working on her PhD in biomedical engineering. On the other, is Josephine Onita, who at 23, had taken over the family's tax preparation business and expanded it. She was an entrepreneur.

The sisters had flown from Houston to Nigeria last week with their brother-in-law for a friend's wedding. Their older sister, Christiana Onita-Olojo, is a new mother and couldn't make the trip. On Sunday, her husband texted her about a plane crash and that her sisters might have been on it. She called him.

"He was like, 'I don't know, I just know there was plane crash.' So I asked, 'what's the airline?' So I immediately was like, 'let me get on flight tracker,'" Christiana said.

Christiana is an assignment editor at Channel 13. Tracking down information is what she does best. So within a few minutes she knew that her sisters were on that flight. A friend confirmed to her that they hadn't survived.

"One of our friends that was there too heard that was there heard the names being read over the intercom system at the airport," Christiana said.

In a matter of moments, she lost her only sisters. She is now left with only a brother. And there's a profound empty spot in the heart of the family and in a community where they were destined to make differences in peoples lives, as one was a medical researcher and the other as a businesswoman.

But to Christiana, the most profound loss is that of her best friends.

"It's like part of my heart is missing," she said.

Memorial arrangements are pending.


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