There's need to reaffirm safety of plane after two accidents

Air travel is reputed to be the safest mode of transport, but in light of recent aircraft crashes, many would be reluctant to buy that line. Sunday this week, a Nairobi bound Ethiopian Airline Boeing 737-800 Max crashed six minutes after takeoff from Bole Airport, Addis Ababa, killing a total of 157 people on board.

Another accident involving a similar plane owned by Lion Air occurred in Indonesia in October last year, taking with it the lives of 189 people. Again, the crash occurred a mere 12 minutes after takeoff. There is too much of a coincidence in this to be ignored or blamed on pilot error.

The Boeing 737- Max 8 is the new version of the old Boeing 737 plane, but already, great concerns have been raised regarding the crafts safety standards following the two accidents, only months apart.

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Indeed, after the Ethiopia accident, China ordered a stoppage to the use of the Boeing737 Max 8 planes until safety concerns have been addressed by the planes manufacturer.

Ethiopia has also suspended the use of the aircraft. The negative impact of this on the country’s economy will be felt for a long time. As the world mourns those on board the ill-fated aircraft, Kenya bears the greatest loss, having lost 32 Kenyans in the accident. Of the 32, a Nakuru family is said to have lost five of its members.

It is hard to quantify the psychological and emotional trauma these families are going through, which is why the government must do everything to alleviate the pain of their suffering.

Even though the affected families were not notified of the accident before the news broke, it is commendable that a help line and a central point from which the grieving families could assemble to get more information and receive counselling were set up immediately.

This assistance, however, should go beyond counselling. Most of the bodies are reported to have been burnt beyond recognition, meaning the additional cost of DNA will have to be factored in identifying the bodies; an exercise, no doubt, that will take time and possibly extend the families’ anguish.

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As is the practice in the motor world whenever a vehicle model is detected to have a manufacturing defect, Boeing may have to recall the planes and determine whether indeed they have a factory defect that needs immediate fixing.

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EthiopiaEthiopian Airline Boeing 737-800 Max