Sicilian regional assessor at the Culture Ministry Sebastiano Tusa is among the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
He was heading to Malindi, Kenya to participate in a UNESCO conference on safeguarding underwater cultural heritage in east Africa, which opens Monday, RAI state television said.
Tusa also served as professor of paleontology at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples.
The Boeing-737 airliner took off at 8:44 am local time yesterday, losing contact with air traffic control at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, just six minutes later. The plane was reportedly carrying 149 passengers and eight crew members from more than 35 different countries.