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March 12, 2019

Sea Isle City native identified as passenger in fatal Ethiopian Airlines flight

Matt Vecere, 43, attended Stockton University and most recently was living in Los Angeles

One of eight Americans onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed during a journey from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, taking the lives of all 157 people on board, has been identified as Cape May County native Matt Vecere.

Vecere, 43, was most recently living in California and worked as a writer for IQAir, a company that makes air quality products for schools and hospitals. The company made a statement about Vecere's death online Monday.

RELATED: United Airlines flight from Newark catches fire, lands safely in Houston

"We will miss his laugh, his wit, his sense of humor, but most of all, the kinship and friendship that he brought to everything he did," IQAir wrote in a statement

"Our heart is with Matt’s family and friends, as well as the loved ones of all who lost their lives in this horrible tragedy." 

Vecere grew up in Sea Isle City, new Jersey, later going to Florida for school before returning to the area and attending Stockton University in Galloway Township. He had been a writer for IQAir for about two years.

Vecere's blog describes his youth working in restaurants near the beach and learning to surf. He makes several wry observations about the perception of New Jersey and the differences between North and South Jersey.

Vecere, who moved to the Los Angeles area in 2005, became active in aid efforts to Haiti after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. His blog outlines much of his writings for various humanitarian organizations.

As the investigation surrounding the crash of Flight 302 continues, many airlines are taking precautions with their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts, of which there are approximately 350 in operation worldwide. Though some airlines have grounded their Max 8 fleets, many have not – including major PHL carrier American Airlines, which has about two dozen in operation, and Southwest Airlines, which has 34.

Sunday night an older model of the jet, a Boeing 737-900, was forced to land during a United Airlines flight from Newark, landing safely in Houston after catching fire. The flight carried 180 passengers.

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