Third British casualty of Ethiopian Airlines crash named as Polar explorer from Devon

Sarah Auffret
Polar explorer Sarah Auffret has been named as the third British casualty of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Photo: AECO

A second British woman from Devon has been named as one of the casualties of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 which crashed yesterday, killing all 157 on board.

Polar explorer Sarah Auffret is the third British national to be identified. According to her Norway-based employers, Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), she was travelling to Nairobi to discuss tackling plastic pollution in the seas at the UN assembly.

Plymouth University graduate Sarah held dual French-British citizenship, grew up in Brittany and has lived in the UK, Australia, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Norway and Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula.

The environmental agent was leading AECO’s efforts to cut back single-use plastics on Arctic expeditions and coordinating beach clean-ups.

Sarah graduated from Plymouth University in 2007 after reading European Studies and German before becoming an exchange student at Potsdam University, Germany for one year. Following her graduation, she joined the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme whose participants are involved in internationalisation initiatives and foreign language education.

During her career, she worked as a polar guide, expedition leader on cruises in Svalbard, East Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula and as base leader of Port Lockroy.

With a long-standing passion for environmental issues, she initiated a coastal cleanup movement in Naruto, Japan in 2010. A native speaker of French and English, Sarah was also fluent in Spanish and German and had a basic understanding of Japanese and Norwegian.

Sarah joined AECO in May 2018 and was based in Tromsø. Sarah held a project position as AECO’s environmental agent where she was responsible for AECO’s Clean Seas initiatives. She led AECO’s efforts to drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels, as well as enhance cruise passengers’ involvement in regular beach cleanups.

“We are shocked and heartbroken to learn that our colleague and dear friend, Sarah Auffret, was on the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET0302 which crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa Sunday morning, with no survivors. Sarah was on her way to Nairobi to talk about the Cleans Seas project in connection with the UN Environment Assembly this week. Words cannot describe the sorrow and despair we feel. We have lost a true friend and beloved colleague. Our hearts and thoughts go to Sarah’s family, friends and colleagues at this time of terrible loss.” – AECO press release

Sarah becomes the third British casualty of the crash to be named after 36-year-old Joanne Toole and dual UK/Kenyan national Joseph Waithaka, 55.

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